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Antonio Gibson Speaks About Coach Mayo, Jacoby Brissett, and What He'll Bring to the Patriots Offensive Backfield

The free-agent addition spoke to the media for the first time since joining the Patriots. 

Patriots running back Antonio Gibson.
Patriots running back Antonio Gibson.

The Patriots first external addition during this free agency period was veteran running back Antonio Gibson to bolster their depth in the offensive backfield.

As a third-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, Gibson emerged as a contributor with the Commanders as a do-it-all back who primarily played in the passing game last season. Along with his skills as a pass-catcher, Gibson also has the explosiveness to be a good fit in new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt's outside zone scheme. For those reasons, the Pats reportedly aggressively pursued Gibson in free agency, signing him to a three-year deal.

Speaking to the media for the first time since joining the Patriots, Gibson talked about his role in the offense, his first impressions of head coach Jerod Mayo, and teaming up with Rhamondre Stevenson in New England's offensive backfield this season.

Starting with what drew him to the Patriots and his initial interactions with Coach Mayo, Gibson painted a picture of the culture that Mayo is trying to establish in his first season as head coach.

"A bunch of young guys, a new coaching staff, I got a chance to talk to a lot of the coaches and I'm super excited for what they've got planned and how they plan on moving things forward," Gibson said. "Definitely a different vibe from a head coach. It sounded like he was talking to one of the guys. That might be a positive thing in the locker room for him to be able to relate and communicate like that and kind of understand both sides of it."

As for his role in the offense, many project Gibson to play a key role in the passing game as a plus-receiver out of the backfield. The former college wideout also has experience running routes flexed outside, with added branches to his route tree thanks to his background as a receiver. However, the 25-year-old hopes to expand his role beyond just passing downs.

"I'm not going to stick myself to just the third down back. I want to compete just the same as everybody else. I feel like that's only going to make the running back room better," Gibson explained. "A lot of guys can catch out of the backfield, but I can line up outside and run routes. That's where the advantage [of playing wide receiver] comes in."

"I'm just a guy that's able to make plays. I can run the ball. I can catch the ball. You can line me up outside. I can block, too. Whatever you need, I can get it done," Gibson continued.

Another draw for the Patriots brass with Gibson is his 4.39 speed, which complements Stevenson's power running style and makes him a good scheme fit in Van Pelt's offense. Although it won't be exclusively zone schemes, AVP has worked in offenses that major in outside zone, where the blocking scheme stretches defenses horizontally to create cutback lanes through the middle of the field. As an explosive back, Gibson can cut upfield and go.

"I would say wide zone [is my favorite blocking scheme]. Wide zone just to be able to stretch the defense and it's up to you and the O-Line to pick and choose. If they're overflowing, you cut up. If not, you get to the edge," Gibson said, confirming his fit in an outside zone-heavy scheme.

The Patriots newest addition to the running back room has already been in contact with their lead-back, with Gibson saying he connected with Stevenson already about how they both took paths through junior colleges (JUCOs) en route to the NFL.

"I hit him up and asked him what JUCO he went to," Gibson said about his initial conversation with Stevenson. "Much respect to him. I love his game. I remember when we played against him, last year if I'm not mistaken, he hit the sideline and took off for like 60-70 yards. So, you know, much respect for his game. Great running back, and I can't wait to go to work with him."

Lastly, Gibson is coming from Washington with one of his Commanders teammates, veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Brissett appeared in three games working alongside Gibson last season, so there's familiarity there with New England's projected bridge quarterback. 

"A vet's vet. He does what he needs to get done. He's sharp," Gibson said of Brissett. "When he stepped in later in the season, he was on 10. He was ready to go. I remember one situation where my guy wasn't even warm, and he had to step into the game. He made some things shake. Great player, great dude. I'm excited. 

The Patriots offseason has been criticized for the lack of splash additions. Although that's fair, New England hopes the offensive pieces fit together better thanks to some of the value additions they've made, like Gibson, who has a contrasting running style to Stevenson and is an effective pass-catching back to add that element back into the offense.

DISCLAIMER: The views and thoughts expressed in this article are those of the writer and don't necessarily reflect those of the organization. Read Full Disclaimer

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