The Rookie That Could Provide A Spark For Washington's Offense

Pete Smith

Rookie running back Antonio Gibson is the one player on Washington that could provide a lift to an offense that has little to be excited about in 2020.

Dwayne Haskins is a second year quarterback in a really difficult position with a mediocre offensive line and limited weaponry outside of Terry McLaurin.

Washington let 35-year old Adrian Peterson walk and had to get rid of former second round pick Derrius Guice in light of some appalling domestic abuse charges.

Gibson wasn't necessarily a running back coming out of Memphis. Only recording 33 carries for the Tigers, he was one of two athletes in college that didn't have a defined position coming out of college that had people excited. The other was Lynn Bowden from Kentucky, who played quarterback, running back and receiver in their offense at times.

Gibson's sheer physical talent is spectacular. At 220 pounds, he ran a 4.39 at the NFL Scouting Combine and for those who watched him in college, he was electric with his speed, agility, flashing power and the ability to break tackles.

Washington may have always wanted Gibson to be a running back with that body type, but it's difficult to imagine they were hoping to be in a position where might be the best running back on the team. And he's legitimately still learning in terms of how he takes on contact and getting behind his pads.

Washington hasn't been able to get him the ball in space in the passing game at this point. He only has five yards on three receptions.

Nevertheless, Gibson's athleticism is impressive and what he's capable of with the ball in his hands provides a potential avenue to lift the entire offense. Should Gibson be able to start providing explosive runs, it will make the offensive line look better because the play calling is less predictable. It makes life easier on Haskins, where he isn't asked to carry offense as a second year quarterback who still looks like a rookie.

When the Cleveland Browns take on Washington, the focus should be stopping the run and forcing Haskins to beat them with his arm. That would be the case whether they were trying to get Gibson involved in their offense or not. He just provides another incentive to try to bottle it up, so they can put them in obvious passing situations to put pressure on Haskins.

The Gibson experiment may not come to fruition against the Browns, but it's really the only thing on the Washington offense that is worth watching right now. If he can deliver on his potential, that could be an offensive spark that helps them win games this season. 

If not, they are relying almost entirely on Chase Young and company to win them games, which is just as difficult as it was when Myles Garrett was a rookie and the Browns went 0-16.

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