Back in January as Ron Rivera became the newest head coach of the Washington Football Team, he promised to fix problems that had plagued the organization in prior years. One of those issues was the lack of focus that had crept in during practices.
Through the initial days of training camp, Rivera looks to have fixed that, as running back Adrian Peterson has seen a noticeable difference in the way things are being run in Ashburn, Va.
“It’s night and day. A different mentality as far as the head man, Coach Rivera," Peterson told NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay.
Peterson also mentioned new offensive coordinator Scott Turner and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio as catalysts for the renewed energy around practice.
For Peterson, it's not just the drills or techniques that are changing in Washington. On a day-to-day basis, he's seen players and coaches focus more on each and every detail. From talking outside of the meeting room to not taking reps off, it doesn't look like past training sessions.
“It’s totally different, it’s night and day. Not only just the terminology of what we’re doing offensively and defensively but the mindset of these guys, and it’s being felt," Peterson said. "Guys are out here paying attention to detail.”
The veteran running back noted that in the NFL, that type of mentality is typically expected throughout the roster. However, players and coaches sometimes tend to get too comfortable in their routines, ignoring the little areas that need improvement.
When that happens, it creates a domino effect of problems for the team.
“When those things are kind of being put to the side or not constantly talked about or spoken on, then it can kind of fall to the waste side," Peterson said.
With nearly a decade and a half of experience in the NFL, Peterson has seen what it takes to win and perform at an elite level, and he wants to be part of an organization that focuses on getting better each time they take the field.
Though that may have not always been the case for Washington in the past, Ron Rivera is changing that. The early days of training camp have shown that to Peterson, and he is happy with the direction the franchise is heading in. A little more effort in practice could be the difference between success and failure on Sunday.
"I’m loving it, man," Peterson said. "I’m all about structure and I know, going into my 14th year, it’s those little detail things that make the world of a difference.”