For the Washington Football Team, it’s Antonio Gibson time
Just before final cuts, the Washington Football Team released legendary running back Adrian Peterson. The move was less about what Peterson can’t do and more about what Antonio Gibson can do.
Adrian Peterson‘s style of play never fit a Scott Turner offense. Having said that, due to him being the only proven player at the position it seemed like he was a shoo-in to make the final roster.
However, the play of a particular player made it easier for Washington to move on and bring in the youth movement. That player was Antonio Gibson.
The third-round pick in the 2020 draft was considered a running back/wide receiver hybrid when he was drafted. Essentially, he’s a Swiss Army knife. As camp progressed, he solely began taking snaps at running back. As he grasped how to play the position after having only 33 total carries in college, he quickly moved up the depth chart.
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Gibson flashed with his hands and his speed. And though he’s a converted wide receiver that you may think has a thin body frame, multiple reporters commented on how built he was. He is officially listed at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds. That gives him the body type to be an NFL running back.
Gibson’s style of play is perfect for the modern NFL. As the league becomes more pass-heavy, the ability for your half backs to be able to catch the ball out of the backfield has become paramount. Players like Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Saquon Barkley, and Le’Veon Bell may as well be listed as RB/WRs on the depth chart.
It is clear that Scott Turner loves using his running backs in the passing game. His dad, Norv Turner, used Christian McCaffrey heavily in the passing game at Carolina. That was a trend Turner continued as he took the reins from his dad late last year.
Due to the lack of talent at wide receiver and tight end, and a lackluster offensive line, receiving backs will be huge for Washington. Adrian Peterson was never known for his receiving prowess. In fact, Peterson became a clue to the defense as they ran more often than not when he was on the field. Rivera commented on this in his post-practice press conference when asked about the release of Peterson.
Gibson will have a huge role in this offense. His body type will allow him to run between the tackles, he has breakaway speed and receiver hands. This staff invested the second pick in the third round into Gibson and by cutting Peterson, they showed they are very high on Gibson.
Whether or not you agree with releasing Peterson, this staff plans to use Gibson a lot. This season is a massive opportunity for the rookie running back. He is slated to be the starter and with an offense that lacks quality skill players, expect him to get a lot of touches.
I am not sure how good Gibson will be but I do know that Ron Rivera is high on him. That statement is good enough for me. It’s Antonio Gibson time in Washington.
P.S.: Thank you, Adrian Peterson, for being a bright spot during two bleak years. Good luck moving forward with the Lions.