Starting Friday night, they hope Peterson can help settle the situation. He’ll get his first chance to play in a Redskins uniform when they host the Denver Broncos.
It’s uncertain how much work he’ll get, but coach Jay Gruden has said he’d like to get him a handful of carries in the first half while working with the first-team offense. After all, that’s who he’d be with in games, whether as the starter or a primary backup.
Gruden said he’s anxious to see Peterson in a game. They signed him Monday and he practiced with the team Tuesday and Wednesday. He participated in a walk-through Thursday at Joint Base Andrews in front of military personnel.
“Everything has checked out so far,” Gruden said. “He’s been great as far as his personality is concerned. Looks in great shape. Strong, physical. So we’ll see; I think it will translate positively.”
The Redskins raved about Peterson’s workout, pointing to that as a main reason why they signed him. That and a resume that includes seven Pro Bowls and 12,276 rushing yards. But it’s hard to tell what someone has left just from practice.
They want to see if he can still be explosive by how he hits the hole. Or how he handles having consecutive carries. The belief is that they’ll be able to tell those things from just a handful of carries.
“Whatever they allow me to get,” Peterson said. “I wasn’t able to participate in OTAs or training camp anywhere, so all work for me going forward is good work.”
After signing autographs for 15 minutes, Peterson said he was excited for this opportunity.
“I’m looking forward to what the season holds,” he said.
The Redskins had hoped the season would include Derrius Guice, but he tore his ACL in the first preseason game. Byron Marshall, competing to be a backup third-down back, injured his knee and might miss at least two more weeks. It’s questionable as to whether they’d keep him on the roster if he was unable to play, even for a couple games.
They do have Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine as options for a first- and second-down back. Perine won’t play Friday because of a sprained ankle, but is expected to return soon. Chris Thompson is their third-down back, but he might be limited early in the season while coming off a broken fibula last season. Thompson has been practicing full for several weeks. Kapri Bibbs is now backing him up as a third-down back.
The Redskins will most likely keep just four running backs. A lot of their decision making will be based on what Peterson has left at age 33. They’ll start to get their answers Friday night.