Football Team

Gibson is 'loving' the way Turner is using him in the offense

Football Team
Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) hands the ball off to running back Antonio Gibson (24) on day twenty-one of training camp at Inova Sports Performance Center in Ashburn, Virginia.
© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

There's been one recurring theme ever since the Washington Football Team selected Antonio Gibson with the 66th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft:

How will Washington use him?

Gibson did a little bit of everything for Memphis during his senior season in 2019. However, despite the rookie's natural background at wide receiver, Washington drafted Gibson as a running back, and the No. 24 he sports on his jersey would support that.

But Gibson's official position as running back is nothing more than a formality. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner has experimented with the rookie all over the field in training camp. Gibson addressed the local media on Sunday, and the rookie explained he's thrilled by the different looks he's been getting in Turner's system.

"I’m actually loving it. This is probably the first time I’m not being limited to just doing a certain thing," Gibson said. "Usually it’s like, ‘Oh, he can do screens or jets and things like that.’ Here, he has me doing a lot. Power to receiver to jets to screens, all of that.

"It just makes it hard on the defense," Gibson continued. "I feel like I can help out the team there because it will always have guys confused."

While Gibson feels he was limited to doing just certain things in the past, his numbers at Memphis say otherwise. As a senior, Gibson touched the ball 71 times on offense, with almost an even split between carries (33) and receptions (38). That's certainly not doing just one thing.

 

But here's where it gets good.

On those 33 rushes, Gibson averaged an epic 11.2 yards-per-carry. On the 38 passes caught, Gibson totaled 19.2 yards-per-reception. Of those 71 scrimmage touches, Gibson found the end zone 12 times. The rookie also served as Memphis' kick returner last fall and averaged 28 yards per return, including a 97-yard score against SMU.

When the ball is in Gibson's hands, he makes things happen.

Turner knows that, which is why he's given the rookie plenty of reps during Washington's truncated camp. In fact, Gibson even admitted he's gotten more reps than he imagined. 

"Definitely more than I expected coming in as a rookie. I always expect to play no matter where I go, but sometimes you’ve got to work your way to that," Gibson said. "I’ve been getting a lot of reps. I don’t know if that’s just a rookie thing with them throwing reps at me, but that just shows that they see something in me."

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One of the biggest strengths of Gibson's game is his ability to break tackles. On his 71 touches last season, Gibson broke an incredible 33 tackles, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Gibson's ability to make things happen out of nothing is exactly what Washington needs. Outside of Terry McLaurin, the unit has a bunch of young, unproven talent. The group is desperate for playmakers, and that's exactly what Gibson was in college.

"DB, linebacker, whoever you put out there, I’ve got that mindset that if you line up in front of me, you’re going to have to give me your all because I feel like nobody can guard me if you line up across from me," Gibson said. "That’s just my mindset from playing receiver all these years. Linebacker, DB, safety, whoever. You know I’m coming at you."

Whatever his role may be in Washington, Gibson is confident he will deliver. 

"I’m ready to handle that," Gibson said. "You throw me in there and I’m going to get it done."