Running becomes a mystery
Warpath|December 2020
The Washington Football Team running backs are an interesting bunch for sure. What was considered to be the strength of the team in July is one of the more perplexing groups on the roster and perhaps the league.
Chris Russell

Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, Peyton Barber, Bryce Love comprise the backfield. That’s the main quartet with the exception of Love who still had not played a single snap of professional football in a game on the NFL level, in 1½ seasons. Coach Ron Rivera activated Love off the injured list to begin practicing again on Nov. 11 and maybe just maybe, the latter will get into a game in late November or December.

Love, if he’s healthy and that is huge if, might be able to be the best combination back of the group. He has plenty of experience as a natural running back from his days at Stanford and can catch the rock on short passing routes.

Antonio Gibson is heading that way in terms of being a complete all-around back but is still raw as a true running back inside the tackles. Gibson has an enormous opportunity to grow and get to the desired destination because he’s an excellent receiver as a back and can line up as a receiver with relative ease, his main role at Memphis.

J.D. McKissic is an ideal third-down back who can obviously play on first and second down as well. McKissic is a very good receiver on designed screens and check-downs with the ability to also run the ball, usually in a zone blocking schemes, and he’s better to the perimeter.

McKissic played on almost every third down in the first half of the season. Gibson, per Rich Hribar of Sharp Football Analysis, caught one third-down touch in the first eight games and played just 10 third-down snaps in the first half.

That leads to the question of why Washington can’t get both on the field at the same time. Gibson is clearly raw in pass protection. He was directly involved in the blocking assignment for the hit that knocked quarterback Kyle Allen out for the season.

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