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'Water under the bridge’: Adrian Peterson is again a starter after Week 1 controversy

'Water under the bridge’: Adrian Peterson is again a starter after Week 1 controversy

Just four days removed from being a healthy scratch for the first time in his career, Adrian Peterson will be the Redskins starting running back on Sunday. Head coach Jay Gruden confirmed such to the media on Wednesday.

The decision by Gruden, of course, was imaginably a lot easier than the one he made on Sunday: determining whether to have Peterson suit up or not. With Derrius Guice sidelined for the near future with a meniscus injury, the 13-year veteran slides right back into the role where he earned the Redskins Offensive Player of the Year award a season ago.

Despite admitting that the decision to be inactive was "extremely hard" for Peterson to deal with, he insists that he has no ill will towards Gruden or the rest of the coaching staff.

"It's water under the bridge," Peterson told NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay in an exclusive interview. "The situation is what it is. The only thing I can do now is make the best of it and help the team win games."

Peterson was naturally upset with the decision to be benched. Anyone with a résumé full of as many accomplishments as Peterson has would react the same way. He wasn't the only one. Earlier this week, Morgan Moses came to his defense, calling it a "slap in the face" to bench a Hall of Fame running back.

While Peterson was appreciative of his teammate's support, the former All-Pro did not want the decision to affect anyone but himself.

"I didn't want the way I was feeling to affect the team or the running back room," Peterson said. "I just had to bite down and lock in. It was Guice's first game back in a year, coming off an ACL injury. Energy is everything. I wanted to make sure I had that positive energy, that I was upbeat, that I wasn't moping or anything like that. That's just the approach that I took."

That same positive energy translated to the sideline during the Burgundy and Gold's Week 1 clash vs. Philadelphia. Rather than sulking, the 13-year veteran used his intellect and experience to help both Guice and Chris Thompson during the game.

"When I'm on the sideline and watching, I'm seeing different things that I would have done compared to Guice or [Chris Thompson]," he said. "So I'm explaining to them once they come to the sidelines what I've seen. We all see different things."

Unfortunately for Washington, the rushing attack was rather nonexistent against Philadelphia. Guice finished with just 18 yards on 10 carries. Thompson added just 10 more yards on the ground.

The Redskins aren't going to win many games with less than 30 rushing yards. In fact, no team in the NFL will.

"The second half [vs. Philadelphia] was rough, we [weren't] able to run the ball," Peterson said. "When I get out there, I'll just use my god-given abilities to help try and improve the run game for sure."

While Peterson did mention that the numbers from Philadelphia may look worse than the reality due to a couple of penalties negating big gains, the Redskins offense simply could not establish a rhythm on the ground in Week 1. Peterson is looking to change that against Dallas.

Peterson is originally from Texas and admitted that he grew up a Cowboys fan. He's locked in and ready to go.

"I'm pumped up, man. I'm really excited about the opportunity to play again," he said. "I get to play against the team I grew up loving. So it's just a blessing."

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Report: Months after major leg injury, Reuben Foster regains feeling in toes

Report: Months after major leg injury, Reuben Foster regains feeling in toes

The Redskins signed linebacker Reuben Foster late in the 2018 season after his release from San Francisco amid domestic violence allegations. The signing caused tremendous backlash towards the organization, but in the end, it was supposed to be worth it for what Foster could do on the field. 

Eventually, charges against Foster got dropped and he wasn't suspended by the NFL. Unfortunately for him and for the Redskins, Foster got injured in his first snap of offseason team activities in May 2019, and it was a major injury. 

The scene on the field that day was traumatic as Foster was visibly in intense pain. In the news that emerged after the injury, Foster had torn multiple ligaments in his knee and NBC Sports Washington reported there was nerve damage in the leg as well. 

Now, it seems like there is finally some positive momentum for Foster's injury. His agent Malki Kawa spoke to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport: "He's got feeling in his toes, the underside of his foot, the side of his foot. The nerve is starting to fire again."

The alarming part here is that Foster had lost feeling in his toes, and for a long period of time too. Foster's injury happened last May. 

Rehabbing a knee is one thing, football players do that all the time. But nerves operate almost on their own, and some nerve damage is irreperable. 

"He's regaining feeling and power," Kawa said. "It shows the nerve is firing. When he moves his leg upward, he can feel around the ankle and the top part of the foot. That's a new thing. The next 60 days are going to be big as far as getting back to normal."

The Redskins know about scary nerve injuries. Promising rookie safety Kyshoen Jarrett sustained nerve damage in his arm in Week 17 of the 2015 season, and never played again. Two years ago, cornerback Quinton Dunbar dealt with a nerve issue in his leg and was basically lost for the year. 

What happens next for Foster will be interesting to watch. 

Kawa said the next 60 days will be important, and that timeline also coincides with more Redskins offseason work. After such a significant injury, it would be premature to make any assumptions about Foster's return to the field, and if/when that happens, his level of play. 

Foster has been seen around the Redskins training facility at times since he was signed in 2018. At various points he was using a scooter and then walking on his own with a significant brace.

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Report: Jay Gruden interviewing for Jaguars offensive coordinator job

Report: Jay Gruden interviewing for Jaguars offensive coordinator job

Jay Gruden’s absence from football might only last a few months. 

The former Redskins head coach is reportedly interviewing for the Jacksonville Jaguars vacant offensive coordinator position, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. Jacksonville parted ways with John DeFlippo last Monday after just one season with the team. 
 

The few times Gruden has spoken since being fired by Washington in October, the former head coach has expressed a strong desire to get back into coaching. Gruden recently told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport he’s been “itching to do something” and “would like an office to go to,” according to Garafolo. 

Interviewing for an offensive coordinator position is not unfamiliar territory for Gruden. He spent the past six years as the head coach in the nation’s capital, but perhaps his most success in the NFL was when the 52-year-old was the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Behind the solid play of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, the Gruden-led offense in Cincinnati resulted in three straight playoff appearances. 

Should be be hired in Jacksonville, Gruden would have some promising pieces to work with. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew showed plenty of hope in the 12 games he started, and second-year wideout D.J. Chark enjoyed a breakout season in 2019. Additionally, running back Leonard Fournette finished with a career-high 1,152 rushing yards last season. 

Former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo and former Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan have reportedly interviewed for the gig as well. 

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