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Practice notes | Antonio Gibson doubtful to play vs. Giants

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The Washington Commanders could be without one of their best playmakers this weekend. Running back **Antonio Gibson,** who has battled a toe injury for the past three days, has been ruled as doubtful for the Week 11 matchup with the New York Giants.

Gibson's workload has not been as heavy as it was in years past, but he has still found ways to be a useful playmaker, particularly in the passing game. He's fifth among all running backs with 269 yards on 30 catches, the most recent of which resulting in a touchdown that tied the score against the Seattle Seahawks.

And just to show how dynamic Gibson has been with the ball in his hands, 250 of his 269 receiving yards have come after the catch. He and **Brian Robinson Jr.** have become two of **Sam Howell’s** most valuable targets because of what they can do in open space.

"Obviously, they can run the ball at a really high level, but what makes those guys really special is what they can do in the passing game as well," Howell said. "AG came in there in the fourth quarter, ran an awesome route on a play we tried to get schemed up for him to have a favorable matchup and we got it, and he did a good job."

Gibson's absence will likely mean more looks in the passing game for Robinson, who has continuously shown that he can be more than just a power back. Howell has a 154.7 passer rating when targeting him, which is the best in the NFL, and he showed how explosive he can be with a 51-yard catch-and-run to the end zone last week.

"He is a power runner and a guy who runs the ball downhill, but he does a really good job as far as check downs and scramble drill type stuff," Howell said. "He has a good feel for the game. He's just a smart football player and he tells me all the time, 'If something breaks down, come find me.'"

On the defensive side, **James Smith-Williams** has been ruled out with a hamstring injury he sustained against the Seahawks. On Wednesday, head coach **Ron Rivera** said "there is some concern" about his availability going forward. Smith-Williams, a starter after the Chase Young and Montez Sweat trades, has 14 tackles to go with a sack and a tackle for loss.

"It's a hamstring, obviously and he didn't finish the game," Rivera said. So, it's never really a good sign."

This means more opportunities for **KJ Henry** and **Andre Jones Jr.** Both have seen their roles increase over the last two weeks, but with Smith-Williams out, both should get more snaps against a struggling Giants offense.

Offensively, **Alex Armah** has also been dealing with a hamstring issue and will miss Sunday's game. While he hasn't had many touches, he's been invaluable as a blocker. His absence will mean the Commanders will need to look for other ways to protect Howell.

**Curtis Samuel** (toe) was limited for most of the week but will be available after being a full participant on Friday. **Benjamin St-Juste,** who missed Wednesday's practice with an illness, will also be active.

**Tyler Larsen,** **Jonathan Allen** and **Kendall Fuller** all had veteran days off this week and were removed from the injury report.

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