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Interview: Washington Football RB Antonio Gibson

ASHBURN, VA -- August 30, 2020 Washington Football running back Antonio Gibson meets with the media after the final training camp practice of the 2020-21 season.

On how he is handling his responsibilities:

“I feel like it started out a little bit slow. It was a lot at first, but I’m starting to slowly get adjusted. I feel like a lot of things were just a rep thing that I needed. As it’s going along, I’m finally picking it up pretty well.”

On what he is getting more comfortable with:

“Just bouncing back. Not how to do things, but the detail of things that you have to do at this level. I feel like football is football at the end of the day. You always go to the next level and things have to be more detailed because everybody’s quicker, everybody’s faster. So, you have to be sharper on those things and that’s what I needed to pick up on.”

On getting reps with the ones:

“I feel like [Head Coach Ron Rivera] is just rotating us. We get out there the same amount, just rotating us, keeping us sharp, taking reps with the first team. You’ve got to be on your p’s and q’s, so I don’t take it as a difference from going with the twos and threes. You still treat it like a game, especially today simulating a game scrimmage. Either ones, twos or threes, you’ve got to treat it like game reps.”

On if he is taking more reps than expected:

“Definitely more than I expected coming in as a rookie. I always expect to play no matter where I go, but sometimes you’ve got to work your way to that. I’ve been getting a lot of reps. I don’t know if that’s just a rookie thing with them throwing reps at me, but that just shows that they see something in me. I’m ready to handle that. You throw me in there and I’m going to get it done.”

On what his reps have shown him:

“That I’m capable. It’s just a small step right now, but it shows me that I’m capable. Everybody has their mistakes, but just learning from that and being able to correct it the next time and going out there and responding—which the game is about—shows me that I can do it.”

On what has been the hardest to pick up on:

“Nothing has really been too hard on me, to be honest. It’s just always been a rep thing. So, I would say pass pro. I didn’t have too much problem with that. I feel like I have the size to fit up anybody. It was just like a rep thing. I didn’t have that in Memphis, so just getting the reps. At first, we were starting out in shells and things like that, so you couldn’t really get a feel for it until these past couple weeks. I’ve been doing pretty good on that. I wouldn’t say it was hard, but just not having the reps there. I would say pass pro, maybe.”

On how his background as a receiver is helping him:

“DB, linebacker, whoever you put out there, I’ve got that mindset that if you line up in front of me, you’re going to have to give me your all because I feel like nobody can guard me if you line up across from me. That’s just my mindset from playing receiver all these years. Linebacker, DB, safety, whoever; you know I’m coming at you.”

On what he attributes his ability to break tackles to:

“I would say just being—I don’t know the type of player I am. I just like to make plays happen. I’m not the type of guy that wants to go down on the first contact. I want to get those extra yards. I also feel like it comes from other sports that I played my whole life. My mom put me in everything from baseball—which I definitely say helped me with vision—basketball, that’s kind of a finesse game so I feel like I can relate some of my basketball moves to football. I feel like it all translates. It all helps me out when I’m playing one sport, so I feel like it’s there too.”

On how offensive coordinator Scott Turner uses him in the offense:

“I’m actually loving it. This is probably the first time I’m not being limited to just doing a certain thing. Usually it’s like, ‘Oh, he can do screens or jets and things like that.’ Here, he has me doing a lot. So, power to receiver to jets to screens, whatever. All of that. It just makes it hard on the defense. I feel like I can help out the team there because it will always have guys confused.”

On how having RB Adrian Peterson in the room with him:

“It helps to see a guy like that, 14 years or more. Just being able to have that guy over your shoulder who’s not afraid to speak up to let you know you’re doing something wrong, to let you know you’re doing something good or how you can improve that. He’s always helping out. To have a guy like him is just like having someone that’s done your job just guiding you along the way. I feel like he’s always there, just critiquing everybody. It’s very helpful.”

On if anything has surprised him about the transition to the NFL:

“The only thing I would say is the speed. You’ve got the linebackers and the D-linemen moving at the same speed, so that’s probably about the only thing. I knew that coming in, but to actually see that I had to adjust to it quickly. That’s probably the only thing that surprised me.”

On learning from RB J.D. McKissic:

“I learn so much through him. I don’t know if he knows that, but I’m always watching him because he’s that type of player that I want to be. We’ve kind of got similar skillsets. I feel like he’s a little bit quicker than me, and I’m a little bit bigger, taller. That’s the type of player I feel like I am. I see a lot that I do when he’s doing it. I’m always watching what he does and learning from him. I feel like we could be a problem.”

On the advice McKissic has given him:

“Just helping me out. J.D.’s a very smart player. He’s always helping out. Sometimes I feel like he’s a coach at some point, helping me out. I always look to him for advice and when he gives it I listen.”

On Turner as a communicator:

“[He’s a] great coach. He’s been critiquing me, he’s been hard on me, but at the same time he’s letting me know that it is a lot being thrown at me. He’s telling me—not telling me that I’ve got time because I know I don’t. I feel like I was brought in to play, and that’s what I want to do. He’s kind of in between of getting to me like I need to get on it, but at the same time I feel like he’s understanding. At the same time, I feel like I’ve been leaning toward the right direction. It’s been a pleasure working with him so far.”

On being around QB Alex Smith:

“[He’s] just laid back, but you know that’s the type of guy who knows you can tell—I believe he’s always the first one out there. Just to see his journey, his journey is crazy to me. That right there, I have so much respect for him. When I had first seen him I was like ‘This man is really out here after all of this.’ Just having respect for guys like that, seeing what it actually takes to last and how they go about things is definitely an honor.”

On if he has a strategy for studying:

“I just break it down. I don’t try to get it confused. That’s when it gets complicated, if you try to go at both of them at the same time. It definitely will get you. I just break it down to where you can understand. So, I just break it down to where I can understand it, try to put things in my head that will make me remember. That’s how I go about things.”

On if there’s anything he does to clear his mind at night:

“Football is kind of taking all of that time. So, not as of now.”

On staying after practice to take sprints:

“Yeah, it’s extra work. But I was definitely trying to work handoffs with [QB Dwayne] Haskins Jr., just getting a feel for the RPOs. He said: ‘Let’s get some of the gasses in.’ I never say no to extra work.”

On acclimating to a new area as a rookie:

“It’s going good. The area is very nice. I don’t stay too far; I don’t stay too close. It’s not a problem getting here or there. I haven’t had any problem. Like I said, it’s very nice. I’m adjusting well. My family is about 45 [minutes] from here. I’ve seen them once, but I try to keep that to a limit because with everything that’s going on, that’s just to be safe around my teammates and people that have their family at home, they’ve got to go back to their families. So, I don’t do much of that.”

On how much his confidence has grown in a year:

“I always had the confidence, even if you go back two years ago when I wasn’t playing and I was just going on special teams at Memphis. I always had the confidence. I knew if coach ever gave me the opportunity to play running back or receiver or wherever he was going to put me, I knew I was going to thrive. That’s just my mindset. So, I’ve always had the confidence.”

On if playing in the NFL gives him more confidence:

“Definitely. I’ve known a lot of people from around my area that make it. You hear good things about them, but it always comes to an end. I just want to be one of those guys that they look at and go: ‘Wow, he really did it.’ So for me, I feel like I’ve got to have that confidence. But the more I improve, my confidence always goes up. It shows me that I can, like I said earlier, I can do it. I’ve just got to do my part.”

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