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Antonio Gibson: A 'New' Way To Feature Him for Washington Football Team?

There's another way to jazz up the Washington Football Team offense this year and it revolves around a receiver turned running back turned receiver again ...

ASHBURN, Va. -- Antonio Gibson had an outstanding rookie year until a toe injury cost him a few games ... and he was never really the same after that for the Washington Football Team in December. 

Assuming that he's healthy in 2021, you will likely see a different Gibson and a different attack mindset. 

Even though Washington did not draft a running back in late April, they signed Jaret Patterson, a diminutive running back from the University of Buffalo, who played with Chase Young in high school. 

Patterson might make the roster out of the preseason because if something happens to Gibson, Washington would not have a running back on the roster with a combination of any real wiggle and an ability to carry the ball 15 times a game. 

READ MORE: Patterson is Darren Sproles 2.0?

That's not J.D. McKissic's role and it is certainly not what Peyton Barber is about, either. 

Patterson could also make a run for the roster because the plan is to use Gibson more in the passing game this year, which we've mentioned a few times in this space (and John Keim of ESPN also notes). 

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Gibson was rarely used as a true running back at Memphis in his collegiate career, but then mostly used as a pure back in his rookie season with the WFT. 

Washington found a way to get him the on-the-job experience that he lacked, and Gibson steadily progressed. 

The third-round pick in 2019 was seen split-out wide at least once during Tuesday's OTA session, and with new receiver Curtis Samuel (who has "backfield'' skills) along with Patterson's presence?

You could certainly see more of this running back versatility in 2021. 

READ MORE: OTA Observations

Keim notes that Gibson averaged 3.07 targets per game in his rookie season, with J.D. McKissic more than doubling that. 

McKissic is expected to have a large role in that area again, but he's a free agent in 2022 ... so clearly ramping Gibson back up in the passing game on the NFL level is part of this team's future.

Gibson had 38 catches for 735 yards and eight scores in his final year at Memphis. He did it all there ... he will get a chance, we bet, to do that again in 2021.