On Sunday, Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden made it clear: They aren’t looking for a starting running back. Ever since Derrius Guice was injured in the preseason opener, they’ve been adamant about how much they like the rest of their backs.
On Monday, they signed Adrian Peterson.
That doesn’t mean they’ve changed their opinion on the backs they have. Had they not suffered more injuries, the Redskins would not have made this move. But they had two more, coming after a season in which they had to sign multiple running backs late in the season because of injuries.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal
The Redskins can’t afford a slow start, which means they must be proactive and aggressive when it comes to replacing injured players. They had three running backs available for practice on Saturday and Sunday: Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson and Kapri Bibbs. They have two others who are out for at least a week: Samaje Perine, who might only miss a week, and Byron Marshall, who could miss at least four weeks.
“We’re covering our bases right now,” Gruden said before Peterson visited.
However, you don’t sign a guy like Peterson and not anticipate him competing for a starting job. To what degree remains uncertain. But while there’s a reality about running backs in their 30s, he’s not joining a group that has an established, every-down back.
Peterson signed a one-year deal, coming off a season in which the future Hall of Famer posted mortal numbers: 156 carries and 529 yards total for New Orleans and Arizona. He tore his lateral meniscus in the 2016 season, missing 13 games. His only good season in the past three occurred in 2015, when he rushed for 1,485 yards.
What does he have left? That depends on whom you ask, as opinions from coaches or evaluators vary from he’s “old and hurt” to he “has something left in the tank.” Peterson trains as hard as anyone, doing so with close friend Trent Williams in Houston over the offseason.
Yes, he clearly impressed the Redskins with his workout, which is why they signed him. But he’s also 33; Frank Gore is still motoring at 35, but he hasn’t missed a game since 2010.
But what Peterson does also will be determined by whether or not the Redskins maintain confidence in their other backs. They’ve liked what Kelley has shown this summer after he shed about 10 pounds to roughly 221 pounds. He has cut more body fat, as he also did the previous offseason.nfl nike jerseys cheap china
The result, they hope, is longer runs or quicker cuts to the outside. Two signs of progress for him were the wheel route he ran in the second preseason game and the 13-yard catch-and-run over the middle.