ASHBURN — As Adrian Peterson walked off the practice field Wednesday, the Redskins running back struck a conversation with Derrius Guice. The two discussed the possibilities — how now, with Guice returning from a torn meniscus, they won’t have to worry about the run game when one of them is standing on the sidelines.
Standing at his locker, Peterson said he knows either of them can “get the job done.”
“It’s going to be interesting to see how things go,” Peterson said.
The Redskins will have to decide how to split the carries with the second-year running back coming off a knee injury ahead of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets. It was a similar predicament Washington faced at the beginning of the season, one that ultimately resulted in former coach Jay Gruden making Peterson inactive for the team’s Week 1 matchup in Philadelphia.
But the Redskins won’t have the same approach this time around.
“Coach Gruden was here, he’s no longer here,” Peterson said. “So it’s a different scenario.”
“No,” interim coach Bill Callahan said earlier this week when asked if Peterson could be inactive with Guice back.
Before, Gruden chose to make Peterson inactive because of the 34-year-old’s inability to play on special teams. The decision left players unhappy within the locker room, given Peterson was the team’s leading rusher in 2018 and stepped in when Guice went down with a torn ACL.
But since then, after Guice tore his meniscus against the Eagles, Peterson has re-emerged as the source of the Redskins’ offense — especially after Gruden was fired following a 33-9 loss to the New England Patriots last month. Under Callahan, the Redskins have run the ball nearly 52% of the time.
As of now, it is unknown who will receive a bigger workload among Peterson and Guice.
Callahan said it will depend on the down and distance, adding they have a plan.
“We’ve got a pretty good rotational system for that,” Callahan said. “Without giving a lot of it away, we feel pretty confident that (Guice will) see quite a bit of action this weekend.”
The Redskins also plan to use Guice as a passing threat, given third-down specialist Chris Thompson has yet to return from a toe injury that has sidelined him for the last three games. Callahan said Thompson’s injury has been “prolonged,” calling the 28-year-old week-to-week.
Guice, though, is the type of player a team can motion and shift outside, Callahan said.
“He’s been productive as a screen back, a check-down back,” Callahan said. “I like the way he performs in his protection pickups, so his completeness was starting to show prior to injury and he’s making his way back.”
The Redskins face a Jets defense that has been particularly good at stopping the run. The unit is giving up just three yards per carry — the best in the league. New York also ranks second in rushing yards allowed, giving up just 81.9 yards per game. Perhaps the one-two threat of Peterson and Guice — or Guice and Peterson — can solve the Jets‘ defense.
Peterson welcomes Guice’s return.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Peterson said.
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