Adrian Peterson came to the 2018 Redskins just a handful of days before Week 1, then rushed for more than 1,000 yards and was named the team's offensive player of the year. He was a revelation and who knows what Washington would've done without him.
Even still, entering 2019, it looks like he's going to see his role diminished. Despite doing everything the Burgundy and Gold asked of him and having, um, a 13-year advantage when it comes to experience, Peterson is expected to be the second option behind Derrius Guice.
As of now, Peterson is handling it well.
"I knew when I came in what the scenario was, that [Guice] was down and I came in and I was able to fill the void for a period of time," Peterson told reporters on Thursday. "They drafted this kid in the second round, so of course they want to give him a shot."
Many will point to Peterson's lack of success sharing time in the Saints backfield in 2017, but that situation and this one do differ in a key way.
That year, Peterson signed with New Orleans on April 25. Three days later, they selected Alvin Kamara. He chose the Saints with the expectation of splitting carries with Mark Ingram, but then the franchise added another name to the depth chart.
With the Redskins, meanwhile — as he mentioned — he knew that Guice would eventually return from his ACL injury, and he still opted to re-sign with the Redskins this past March.
Of course, perhaps the future Hall of Famer didn't figure that Jay Gruden would come out days before the season opener and pronounce that the offense will "go through" Guice. But it's not like Peterson should be surprised, like he was when Kamara dropped onto the Saints roster.
Now, it's almost time to finally see what this running back rotation truly looks like. Does "going through" Guice mean that Guice gets 20 carries and Peterson gets six? Or does it mean that Guice gets 15 and Peterson gets 11? The former may upset Peterson, while the latter should work.
Those on the coaching staff are thrilled to see what Guice can bring, sure, but he is coming off a major injury and hasn't played a single down yet. Some are wondering if Peterson's days in D.C. are numbered or if he could be inactive on game days, yet that feels like an enormous risk to take at least early on, regardless of how much talent Guice has.
Overall, this stacked backfield should be one of the Redskins' best positions, and if Peterson buys in, it will be. On Thursday, fortunately, he sounded like a guy who was buying in. How long that lasts, though, may be a week-to-week story.
"At the end of the day, I'm paid to do what they ask me to do," Peterson said. "So that's all I can do and all I can control. ... I just embrace it and appreciate that I'm still in a position to play after 13 years."
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