Adrian Peterson wants to rush for 2,000 yards in 2019, but the Redskins know that limiting his carries should be best for the team and the veteran rusher.
There are a lot of questions floating around about who is going to start at quarterback for the Redskins this season. The question of who will lead their backfield in rushing attempts is just as intriguing. Even at 34 years of age, Adrian Peterson still has hopes of enjoying another 2,000 yard season.
Fortunately for the veteran running back, the Redskins coaching staff has different ideas. They’re very open about their intention to give significant work to second-year pro Derrius Guice this season. The former LSU star built a lot of buzz in training camp before suffering a torn ACL before the regular season ever began. He’s expected to be cleared for action sometime during this year’s training camp.
Peterson deserves credit for enjoying a career renaissance last season in the nation’s capital, but there’s no way around the fact that he’s ancient for an NFL running back. The fact that he can still be productive after so many years and carries is a testament to his talent and work ethic. That doesn’t mean the Redskins should expect him to tote the ball 251 times again this season. Peterson handled that workload last season and just inched over the 1,000 yard rushing mark for the campaign.
The problem with Peterson last season is that his effectiveness declined sharply as the year progressed. Some of that blame can be laid at the feet of the Redskins offense. The group suffered a ton of injuries, including the crippling loss of quarterback Alex Smith. Even a running back in his prime was going to struggle to grind out yards given the lack of offensive talent the Redskins played with down the stretch.
Some of the explanation for Peterson”s decline must also be attributed to the number of miles on his tires as a rusher. His rushing average dropped from an impressive 4.4 yards per carry in the first half of the season to a pretty ugly mark of 3.81 in his team’s final eight games. That data sends a clear message to head coach Jay Gruden that he can’t wear Peterson out in 2019 if he wants him to be effective.
The question Gruden and his staff need to answer is just how much Guice will be involved. He’s clearly the future at the running back position, but Peterson is a proud player who needs to have his ego managed carefully. Quarterback may be getting all the headlines in DC, but running back may be just as tough to manage for the Redskins.