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Adrian Peterson continues surprising run in Redskins' win over Cowboys

Adrian Peterson continues surprising run in Redskins' win over Cowboys

LANDOVER, Md. -- With 22 starters comprising offensive and defensive players, plus another faction handling special teams, football is the ultimate team sport.

Now imagine where the 2018 Washington Redskins find themselves if the front office never brings in Adrian Peterson for that mid-preseason workout. Even Jamie Lee Curtis finds that frightening.

Peterson’s return to football glory continued with 99 rushing yards on 24 carries in Washington’s 20-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys Sunday evening.

“I won’t say we wouldn’t be as good in the run game, but, yeah,” left tackle Trent Williams said of his former University of Oklahoma teammate.

“Obviously having [Adrian], I won’t say it’s everything, but it’s almost everything,” Williams continued. His eyes widened as the Pro Bowl lineman pondered the potential downside of this offense without the future Hall of Famer. That’s a dark timeline.

Peterson’s Redskins career now spans six regular-season games. Sunday’s display of power in tight spaces and speed when daylight exists wasn’t a one-off. In those six games, Peterson rushed for at least 96 yards four times including the last two games despite playing with a painful shoulder.

“I’m feeling good, man, we just got a W,” the smiling running back said from behind the podium inside the media room at his newish home stadium. “That makes everything feel a lot better. I feel better than I did last week, I’ll say that.”

Washington felt concerned enough about its running attack following the second preseason game to scour the free agent market. Peterson arriving at Redskins Park in August generated the expected “Whoa” from the casual NFL fans, who picture the player hammering silly defenders daring to tackle him. That player no longer existed. At least that’s what many assumed.

Peterson last topped 1,000 yards or 4.0 yards per rush in 2015. Injuries and inefficiency headlined his 2017 stops in New Orleans and Arizona. Running backs capable of carrying an offense aren’t just lying around for the taking like a rogue penny on a sidewalk. Yet, there was Peterson, waiting for a team to show interest. After losing Derrius Guice with a season-ending knee injury and recognizing the in-house options were not enough, the Redskins called.

 “We didn’t have many expectations,” Jay Gruden said after the Redskins improved to 4-2 and took a 1 ½ game lead in the NFC East. “We weren’t expecting him to be on our football team until we had a couple of injuries. Then we got him. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I know he looked great in that workout.”

That workout led to a signing and almost simultaneously, the starting gig. Now it’s hard contemplating anyone else in those early down and short yardage scenarios. Peterson had runs of 23 and 20 yards against the Cowboys. The latter help set up one of two Dustin Hopkins field goals. His overall production helped move the chains in yet another game where the Alex Smith-led passing game lacked oomph.

This random road to Redskins Park is why Peterson’s renaissance feels shocking to many with one significant exception.

“No, not at all. I think everyone else around is surprised. I’m not,” Peterson said. “I expect greatness from myself. That’s why I put the work in. God has blessed with me this talent. A lot of people see, and a lot of people don’t. … Just keep confidence in myself. When I’m presented with my opportunity, I’m going to take advantage of it every Sunday.”

Peterson is taking advantage of this opportunity with the Redskins because necessity is the mother of invention. It turns out Washington’s running attack needed a reboot more than the running back required a makeover.

“There are not many guys like [Adrian] walking around the street,” Williams said, “and luckily, we found a diamond in the rough.”

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I rewatched a Redskins-Eagles game where RG3 was literally perfect. Here are my notes

I rewatched a Redskins-Eagles game where RG3 was literally perfect. Here are my notes

A few weeks ago, after NFL Game Pass announced anyone could watch any matchup dating back to 2009, I decided to pick a Redskins game at random to relive.

The one I ended up with — thanks to a proprietary selection process involving Google's number generator — was a 2014 debacle where Washington was shut out by the Rams and trolled by Jeff Fisher. You now immediately understand why I needed 14 days to build up the courage to try this idea again.

Fortunately, the contest I drew this time came from one of the best seasons this franchise has ever seen: 2012. And, thanks to all of the miraculous wins from that year, this particular victory is actually a little overshadowed, even though it was a dominant one.

On Nov. 18 of Robert Griffin III's rookie campaign, the Redskins hosted the Eagles at FedEx Field, then proceeded to tear the Eagles apart at FedEx Field. That afternoon marked the start of the team's crazy seven-game winning streak and also might've marked RG3's peak as a pro passer, as he went 14-of-15 for 200 yards, four touchdowns and a perfect passer rating. 

So, here are my notes from rewatching his and the Burgundy and Gold's performance against Philly. The best part about these notes? Jeff Fisher's name doesn't appear anywhere.

FIRST QUARTER

  • On the third play from scrimmage, London Fletcher bats a ball away from Brent Celek, which DeAngelo Hall then intercepts and returns to the 9-yard line. 2012, of course, belonged to Griffin and Alfred Morris, but Fletcher played each weekend like his Gatorade bottles were filled with straight Red Bull.
  • Two snaps after the turnover, RG3 lofts an easy pass out into the flat to Darrel Young, who coasts into the end zone. The cameras then show the crowd, which, in a weird turn of events, isn't 66-percent Eagles fans. 
  • It's bizarre to watch Nick Foles as a rookie in this game and know that in about six years, he's going to outduel Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. 
  • Oddly enough, this Sunday was the beginning of the Brandon Meriweather Era. The safety hurt his knee in a preseason practice, then re-injured himself when he ran into Aldrick Robinson in warmups before Week 4's win in Tampa. He just picked off Foles in his debut. Related: The Brandon Meriweather Era never really gets better than this.
  • Madieu Williams is the other starting safety, by the way. Landon Collins and Sean Davis will look like Ronnie Lott and Troy Polamalu compared to Meriweather and Williams.
  • The first quarter wraps up with the home side up 7-0. The carnage should be coming soon.

SECOND QUARTER

  • Alex Henery just made a field goal for Philadelphia. The extra "e" in his last name is quite obnoxious. NBCSportsWashington.com: your official home for Alex Henery hot takes.
  • How good was RG3 (and Kyle Shanahan) this year? The offense just lined up with Robinson, Logan Paulsen, Brandon Banks and Niles Paul as the receiving options, faked a reverse to Banks and hit on a BOMB to Robinson. Fans of other teams probably wouldn't even know those guys ever played a professional sport, yet the threat of Griffin and the scheme from Shanahan created opportunities like this one: 
  • Leonard Hankerson just caught a pass. He used to move around like he woke up right before he was told to go in the huddle.
  • With 30 seconds left in the half, the Eagles try to run the clock out. LeSean McCoy, though — who carries the ball like it's a free pamphlet someone gave him on his way to work — fumbles and the Redskins recover at the 14. Kai Forbath ends up kicking a field goal, and the Burgundy and Gold lead 17-3 at half.

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THIRD QUARTER

  • Here is a third-and-15 where Griffin dropped back an additional 11 yards, meaning he was 26 yards away from the sticks at one point. He then escaped from the pocket, got himself into the following two on four situation — and still managed to skirt his way down the sidelines for a first. And he would do stuff like this all.the.time.:
  • Here is one of the more preposterous touchdowns I can ever remember seeing. On a third-and-10 from the Redskins' 39-yard line, Griffin drifts back, then drifts to the left and then, as the commentator accurately states, "just throws it as far as he can." His target was a double-covered Santana Moss, who is able to snag it, outwork the Eagles DBs and eventually cross the plane. To this day, scientists are still trying to figure out how this scenario turned out well for the Redskins:
  • The third quarter is over and the Burgundy and Gold are cruising with a 24-6 advantage. 

FOURTH QUARTER

  • Between Griffin and Banks carrying the ball as often as they did, it's amazing the Redskins didn't have 13 fumbles every time they played.
  • As strange as it is to watch Foles knowing he has a ring in his future, it may be even stranger to see Kirk Cousins on the sideline in a No. 12 uniform (and the loosest sleeves I've ever seen) and know that he's going to cash in over and over and over again very soon. You could fit a family of four and a large dog in the sleeves he used to rock.
  • RG3 just connected for his fourth six-pointer of the day, hitting Paulsen on the four-yard line and allowing the tight end to do the rest. This all feels like it happened eight decades ago instead of eight years ago. Washington's up 31-6, which also doubles as the final score.
  • The last thing I noticed in the final few drives of this one is Hall very obviously trying to jump every route and pick off another pass. It's so blatant and I respect it so much.

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2020 NFL Draft to include virtual moment of draft picks meeting Roger Goodell

2020 NFL Draft to include virtual moment of draft picks meeting Roger Goodell

The coronavirus pandemic will prevent 2020 NFL Draft picks from experiencing the post-selection handshake with commissioner Roger Goodell, but that doesn't mean this year's draft will be completely devoid of that moment. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, EA Sports will create a virtual moment featuring Goodell shaking hands with each team's first-round pick to go along with a remote draft. 

In order to do this as accurately as possible, EA Sports reached out to a number of likely first-round picks to get an idea of how they planned to greet the commissioner the moment they were drafted. 

Each prospect will also choose a high school to receive a $2,500 grant toward its football program. 

Whether the Redskins draft Chase Young, Tua Tagovailoa or trade back, Washington fans will be able to see their newest addition virtually walk across the draft stage.

The 2020 NFL Draft will be anything but normal compared to recent years, though it'll at least have a few items like this to make it an enjoyable night for everyone involved. 

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