The Redskins offense plans to "go through" second-year running back Derrius Guice. Head coach Jay Gruden said as much earlier this week, and when asked for more clarity on the situation between Guice and veteran RB Adrian Peterson, Gruden did not back off.
"The big thing is we get somebody ready for the mother load and everybody else is ready for whatever else they can get," the coach said.
The mother load. Wow.
Gruden's comments came when asked what Peterson's role would be in the offense if Guice is going to see the bulk of the carries. The coach explained that while the organization really appreciates Peterson's skillset and role, at least early on this year, it's Guice's opportunity. In fact, Gruden provided a quick history lesson on last year, when the plan was to roll with Guice until a preseason knee injury put him on the shelf and brought Peterson to Washington midway through August.
"[Guice] was our second-round pick. Had he not got hurt, we wouldn't know Adrian. Fortunately, we got to know Adrian and he's a great player for us," Gruden said Wednesday. "The issue is you’ve got one ball and if you're going to hand the ball off 25 times a game, only so many carries can go around."
Last year in the season opener, Peterson rushed the ball 26 times for 96 yards as the Redskins bludgeoned the Cardinals into the ground. This year, it sounds like Guice will be that hammer instead of Peterson.
"I think you have to start with the first back and you start the game on offense, you start the game with Derrius Guice. From there, we'll see where it goes. I'm anxious to see him play," Gruden said. "He's shown us that he's full go. He's had a good training camp. He's had good practices. He's into it mentally. He can handle the passing game, the protections and obviously he can handle the running game."
The coach was also clear that things can change, and frankly, things probably will change.
"That can change next week, it can change the week after, but initially we have to have a plan and go with it."
The Redskins plan for now is clear: Run Derrius Guice early and often. The path to wins for Washington is good defensive play and a strong run game. Gruden has said multiple times this offseason that he's comfortable winning games with low scores like 20-17 or 13-10. Guice would be a big part of that.
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