The Washington Commanders convinced pass-catching running back J.D. McKissic to eschew an agreement with the Buffalo Bills to return to D.C. The move kept the tandem of Antonio Gibson and McKissic together for two more seasons.
“We’re a 1-2 punch combo,” Gibson told Aaron Wilson of the Pro Football Network. “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.”
Last year Gibson played the lead-back role, rushing 258 times for 1,037 yards and seven touchdowns while adding 42 catches for 294 yards and three additional scores. McKissic was mainly used in a pass-catching role, netting 397 yards on 42 catches with two TDs while rushing 48 times for 212 yards at two more scores in 11 games. McKissic’s 26 percent target rate was fourth-most among all running backs with at least 200 routes run in 2021, per Next Gen Stats.
A receiver in college, Gibson owns the ability to play all three downs as both a runner and receiver.
“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.”
With new quarterback Carson Wentz’s struggles last year in Indy, expect Washington to come out of the gate leaning on both Gibson and McKissic as runners and receivers out of the backfield.
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