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Washington Commanders’ Antonio Gibson: I feel like I am one of the best running backs in the league

Vincent Frank
NFL injury report: Antonio Gibson
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Commanders running back Antonio Gibson was benched in favor of rookie third-round pick Brian Robinson during the preseason. It sure looked like Gibson would be relegated to backup and special teams duties due to some major fumble issues.

That changed when Robinson became a victim of a shooting during a carjacking in Washington D.C. following the Commanders’ preseason finale. While all reports surrounding Robinson are good, there’s no telling when he’s going to return to the field.

On the field, this puts Washington in an unenviable situation. Sure we should be focusing more on Robinson and his recovery from being shot. But Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars is just a few days away. The team must plan accordingly.

In talking to the media on Wednesday, Gibson displayed the very same confidence that made him a breakout player for Washington as a sophomore in 2021.

“I still feel like I’m one of the best running backs in the league and I got something to prove,” Antonio Gibson to reporters on Wednesday.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that belief. It shows confidence in his abilities. Primarily, Gibson’s issues have been fumbles. He put the ball on the turf six times last year and fumbled again in Washington’s preseason opener. It’s not something that the Commanders’ brass is going to have patience with.

“That’s one of the first things that we talk about when we get together as an offense when training camp started is protect the football. We can’t waste possessions, and obviously, if you fumble the ball, that’s a waste of a possession. That’s a ball carrier’s first job, to protect the ball. We can’t have that.”

Commanders offensive coordinator scott turner on Gibson’s fumble issues

Related: Washington Commanders to rely on Carson Wentz in more ways than one to open season

Antonio Gibson could be a major X-factor for the Washington Commanders in 2022

Antonio-Gibson-Washington-Commanders
Jul 30, 2022; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Commanders running back Antonio Gibson (24) walks to the field during day four of training camp at The Park in Ashburn. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With Robinson out for the foreseeable future, it stands to reason that Washington will rely on Gibson to provide balance for new quarterback Carson Wentz. J.D. McKissic is more of a three-down back. Jonathan Williams has not proven to be anything more than a depth option throughout his career in the NFL.

As for Gibson, he jumped on to the scene for Washington after making the transition from wide receiver following a tremendous collegiate career with Memphis. The former third-round pick put up north of 1,000 total yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie in 2020 before taking his game to the next level last season.

  • Antonio Gibson stats (2021): 1,037 rushing yards, 42 receptions, 294 yards, 1,331 total yards, 10 touchdown

The biggest issues last season included putting the ball on the turf. Gibson fumbled it six times on 300 touches after fumbling it just one time as a rookie the previous season.

Washington opens up its regular season slate against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday afternoon. It’s a good matchup for Gibson in that the Jags gave up north of 2,200 total yards and 18 touchdowns to running backs a season ago. With that said, continued fumble issues will have Gibson riding the pine early and often under hard-nosed head coach Ron Rivera.