Detroit Lions rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs has his sights set on a pair of lofty goals in 2023.
The former Alabama Crimson Tide star is confident that he can rush for 1,000 yards, while also racking up 500 receiving yards during his rookie season.
“Most definitely, especially with this system,” Gibbs told ESPN on Monday.
In a somewhat surprising move, the Lions selected Gibbs with the No. 12 overall draft pick in late April. Gibbs earned his spot in the first round by showcasing his skills as a runner and a receiver during his time playing at Georgia Tech and Alabama.
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Gibbs finished his final season in Tuscaloosa with 926 rushing yards and 444 receiving yards.
NFL teams mostly platoon running backs, and Gibbs will split the Lions backfield with veteran David Montgomery.
Therefore, Gibbs will likely have to convince the Lions to go against the norm if he wants to get enough touches carrying the ball and a significant amount of targets as a receiver if he wants to accomplish his goal.
Last season, Christian McCaffrey was the only player to surpass the 1,000 yard rushing and 500-yard receiving marks. He finished the year with 1,139 yards on the ground and 741 yards in the air.
In the past threes years, there has been a total of eight running backs who have surpassed the 500 rushing yards mark. But, combining a 1,000 rushing yards season with 500-plus receiving yards is a considerable feat.
Los Angeles Chargers star Austin Ekeler fell just 85 rushing yards short of the 1,000/500 season in 2022. He finished the season with 915 rushing yards and 722 receiving yards.
The Lions coaching staff has hinted that they will work Gibbs into the passing game.
Gibbs said that winning will take care of alot of things.
“If we win, the rest will come,” the rookie running back noted.
Gibbs will get his first opportunity to make progress towards the special season that he is aiming for when the Lions open the 2023 NFL season on Thursday night against the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
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Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is well aware of the problems Gibbs potentially poses for Kansas City’s defense.
“It’s all eyeballs on No. 26 when he goes in the game,” he said. “That’s one of the things we’ve been talking about, know where he is and if he’s in the game because we certainly think with a guy that’s that explosive they’re going to try to find way to get him the ball.”
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