Washington Commanders’ Antonio Gibson: ‘We got to start winning games, that’s what we plan on doing’

    Antonio Gibson is upbeat about his future, the Washington Commanders' progress, and the team's new name and uniforms.

    Washington Commanders’ Antonio Gibson: ‘We got to start winning games, that’s what we plan on doing’

    KATY, Texas — Antonio Gibson is done hoisting heavy metal for the day. The Washington Commanders’ versatile running back, a former college wide receiver, has finished an intense upper body workout, including the bench press, at the direction of private trainer Kerry Bennett.

    And Gibson is upbeat about his future and the team’s future, about the new name and uniforms of the Commanders.

    What Gibson wants more than anything is for the Commanders to build a consistent winning team that contends for the Super Bowl after the team finished 7-10 and 7-9 during his first two NFL seasons.

    He wants to change the conversation about the Commanders and have them discussed in positive terms that are focused on success.

    Antonio Gibson: ‘We got to start winning games’

    “We get a lot of backlash on the team,” Gibson said. “We’re tired of it. We just got to show ’em. We don’t get that talk if we’re winning games, we got to start winning games and people forget about all that. That’s what we plan on doing.”

    Gibson emphasized that he’s excited about the team’s rebranding and referenced many good things that are happening publicly and behind the scenes. He didn’t discuss any of the team’s off-field controversies, including a Congressional and NFL investigation and well-documented workplace issues, keeping his focus on football and what he can control.

    “It’s a change with the team,” Gibson said. “I feel like we’re making a lot of changes. We’re building. We’re working to change our whole organization around. It’s a new start. We’re going to rock with it. I love the new uniforms and ready to get out here and show people what we got.”

    Finding statistical success

    Gibson (6-foot-2, 220 pounds with 4.39 speed in the 40-yard dash) is an explosive, productive player.

    The former third-round draft pick and All-AAC selection from Memphis has rushed for 1,832 yards and 18 touchdowns in two NFL seasons, catching 78 passes for 541 yards and 3 scores.

    Last season, Gibson rushed for a career-high 1,037 yards with 42 receptions for 294 yards and 3 touchdowns. He had a 73-yard touchdown catch against the Buffalo Bills, the second-longest touchdown catch by a running back in franchise history. And he became the third player in franchise history to rush for 1,000 yards during his first two seasons since Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III.

    “I feel like that’s part of my game,” Gibson said. “I’m versatile. It’s just perfecting those techniques, getting my receiver game back down. I’ve got running back down. I feel like I can always improve. I feel like I got it down, I know what I need to do, and I’m coming in and I’m going to do it.”

    Gibson was the first rookie to score 3 touchdowns in a Thanksgiving game against the Dallas Cowboys since Randy Moss in 1998 and the first running back to rush for 115 yards and 3 scores since Barry Sanders in 1997. He led all rookies with 11 rushing touchdowns and was the first Washington rookie to record 1,000 yards from scrimmage since Morris in 2012.

    Gibson has formed a strong tandem with J.D. McKissic

    Gibson and pass-catching running back J.D. McKissic, who re-signed with the team after initially agreeing to join the Buffalo Bills, have formed a strong tandem.

    “We’re a 1-2 punch combo,” Gibson said. “They rely on him a lot on third downs as far as catching passes. I’m very capable of doing that, too. It’s just the scheme and how they want to work me. I love working with him. I was glad J.D. came back to the team. It gives me more time to learn from him. I love learning from him. He’s been helping me out.”

    As for the workout regimen, well, the work doesn’t stop. Gibson is enjoying the workout program designed by Bennett, who trains multiple NFL players.

    “I wanted to get some good work, and I got some work in,” Gibson said. “I’ve been enjoying it. It’s a lot of football movements. It never gets boring. It’s great work.”