Brian Robinson starts over Antonio Gibson in Commanders’ running back competition

Washington Commanders v Kansas City Chiefs
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Antonio Gibson was the Commanders’ starting running back last season, topped 1,000 rushing yards, and appeared to have a lock on the starting job for this season as well. And then Brian Robinson came along.

Robinson, a third-round rookie, has appeared to outplay Gibson on the practice field during training camp, and the Commanders made Robinson their starting running back in Saturday’s preseason game.

Perhaps even more significantly, the Commanders had Gibson back to return the opening kickoff. Gibson never played on special teams in either of his first two NFL seasons, but the Commanders putting him on special teams on Saturday is a strong suggestion that he’s going to need to contribute to the team in other ways because he’s not going to be the No. 1 running back anymore.

Robinson had eight carries for 31 yards on Saturday, while Gibson had just two carries for three yards, although he did add three catches for 37 yards. Based on preseason usage, Robinson may be the primary ball carrier, while Gibson is asked to play third downs and possibly return kicks.

Gibson fumbled in the preseason opener, drawing coach Ron Rivera’s ire, and Rivera also said he wants to see Gibson “run harder.” It now looks like Rivera has decided that Robinson is the man he wants carrying the load in his offense.

11 responses to “Brian Robinson starts over Antonio Gibson in Commanders’ running back competition

  1. It’s crazy how quickly the team made this change yet they have no answers on defense

  2. Gibson is going to be the odd man out as JD McKissic will get the majority of the 3rd down snaps

  3. Putting Gibson in the doghouse and replacing him with Brian Robinson is akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    What would actually help is hiring a real defensive coordinator who runs a scheme from the 21st century (hello Vic Fangio!) and bringing in a legitimate front office that isn’t packed with retreads from the Panthers and Lions.

  4. All you guys complaining about Washington’s defense need to realize that when Patrick Mahomes is ON, he’s destroyed some of the best defenses in league the past 4 years. Denver, generally top 10 defense every year, has never never beat him.

  5. Or he’s just trying to motivate Gibson.

    Its pretty obvious he’s the most talented and explosive. Some guys need to be pushed in different ways.

  6. Robinson is a hard running RB. Gibson is an offensive weapon. Both players are good. They’re trying to put together a team of 53 players. Hopefully 53 good players. These two are both good players. They have different skill sets. I’m sure they’re excited about both players. I doubt that Washington was planning to draft Robinson. It just might be that he slipped to the third round, and they had him rated too high to pass up. Their problem last year wasn’t a lack of RB’s. They just couldn’t resist the value. They’ll figure out a way to get both guys involved. RB’s also get injured a lot, so now they have some depth. If anyone is concerned that they should have been drafting defense instead, I can’t argue with that.

  7. The Commanders could have a 25 yr old Barry Sanders, and it wouldn’t matter. Wentz and this team have a 6 or 7 win ceiling.

  8. It took a certain amount of hubris to be a new coaching staff and convert a rookie WR to your 1st and 2nd down starting running back! Fans who don’t know any better point to the yards Gibson got as a sign of success. But it doesn’t mean anything. The yards are misleading. Holding onto the ball, making the 1st guy miss on 1st and 2nd down and converting short yardage runs into 1st downs is the measure. He’s done well, considering but I think he’ll be more effective for the team and scare defenses more in this new role.

  9. Robinson is a beast but Alabama puts a lot of hard miles on their backs. This kid is huge but runs tall and is going to take a lot of big hits to his legs because nobody can bring him down tackling high. The plan is likely to run him into the ground on his rookie deal.

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