It's time to reimagine the feature running back role for Washington Football fans.
The team released Adrian Peterson on Friday, and while that's quite surprising, it might not mean that significant of a change to the Washington team's offensive plans this fall.
New offensive coordinator Scott Turner seems prepared to roll out a new scheme than what Washington fans have watched for the last few seasons, and it might not include one running back getting more than 200 carries.
Turner's offense looks set to focus on passes to the backs and a ton of motion, and to the Washington coaching staff, Peterson must not have been the right guy for that plan.
So what happens next? Let's examine:
- Antonio Gibson - The third-round rookie from Memphis made huge strides during training camp and looks poised to lead Washington in touches this fall. He's big, he's fast, and Ron Rivera was hoping to keep him a secret: "We have a plan for him. I know we haven’t showed you guys the whole plan, and that’s a part of the secret we’re trying to keep going into the regular season. But, Antonio’s a very versatile young man, a solid football player." Well, the secret is out.
- J.D. McKissic - When free agency opened Washington quickly moved to sign McKissic. He's comfortable in his role and so are the coaches. He could catch 50 passes and be on the field plenty in a two-back set with Gibson and in a turbo set on his own.
- Bryce Love - it's been a wild ride for Washington fans with Love. The team drafted him in the fourth round in 2019, but he was injured and suffered setbacks in his recovery and missed his entire rookie season. He got cleared this year and looked strong early on in camp, though he's still yet to face full contact. The coaching staff seems to believe in Love long-term to release Peterson.
- Peyton Barber - Well, Rivera picked Barber over Peterson. Maybe that's about money, maybe that's about age, maybe that's about ability, it doesn't matter now. It's done. Rivera on Barber: "I’ve always liked his physicality. I’ve always liked that he’s gotten the tough yards. That’s one of the things I like about him. But he also shows the ability to block. He’s a pass protector and he’s sneaky-good out of the backfield with his hands. I don’t know if he gets enough credit. There are some positives about Peyton that I’ve come to really appreciate.”
Things could change again, but right now, this is the squad at running back.