Redskins

Roof heads home after 'privilege' of being at PSU

Roof heads home after 'privilege' of being at PSU

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) Former Penn State defensive coordinator Ted Roof won't forget his one season in Happy Valley.

But home is home. And after the opportunity arose quickly to take the same position at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, he said he made the difficult decision to leave the Nittany Lions and return to his native Georgia.

``That was a real privilege and special deal for me to be part of that football team,'' Roof said about the 2012 Penn State season in a phone interview Thursday with The Associated Press. He called it a special year and the team a ``special group of guys.''

After Roof told Nittany Lions coach Bill O'Brien he was leaving Wednesday morning, new defensive coordinator John Butler got a visit in his office from the boss.

``Billy came in and said, `I'm going to promote you to defensive coordinator,''' said Butler, the former secondary coach, in recounting the conversation. He responded, ``That's great, thanks a lot. What do you need me to do?''

``It wasn't like there was a surprise party associated with it,'' said Butler, known for his animated histrionics on the field during games. ``You just move on.''

Roof's departure seemed to catch most people around the program by surprise. Roof said the opportunity at Georgia Tech only surfaced about two days ago.

In a statement Wednesday, Georgia Tech said Roof's hiring won't become official until a background check is completed, likely next week.

Roof played for the Yellow Jackets, and was an assistant under former coach George O'Leary, as well. O'Brien was also on that Georgia Tech staff. Roof was the head coach at Duke from 2003-7, where the Blue Devils went just 6-45. O'Brien was offensive coordinator at Duke from 2005-6.

A year ago, O'Brien lured Roof to State College just weeks after Roof had taken the defensive coordinator job at Central Florida under O'Leary. He was one of O'Brien's first hires as the new coach began shepherding the Nittany Lions through the rocky aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

At 8-4, this season turned out to be a success for O'Brien and Roof - especially given the scrutiny around the team after the NCAA handed down its sanctions over the summer.

The Nittany Lions were already known for good defense under Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno and longtime defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, and Roof tweaked the schemes with more blitzes and different looks. Under his watch, Penn State was second in the Big Ten in scoring defense (19.1 points), first in sacks (34) and first in red-zone defense. He was also instrumental in opening up recruiting avenues in the South for Penn State, including the trail that led to backup quarterback Steven Bench, of Georgia.

Roof appeared to forge strong bonds with players, including senior linebacker Michael Mauti, during the stressful year. He said this team would be remembered ``because of the heart and commitment that they showed and exhibited ... Everything that's right about college football.''

When asked if there were any hard feelings in his departure, Roof quickly said ``Absolutely not.''

O'Brien, in a statement Wednesday, praised Roof and wished him well: ``Ted is a great coach and person. He earned the respect of our players and they enjoyed playing for him.''

Now, Butler will be Penn State's third defensive coordinator in three years. Bradley was the defensive coordinator for 11 seasons but left after O'Brien took over.

Butler, a 19-year coaching veteran, was a linebackers coach at Minnesota in Roof's one season there as defensive coordinator in 2008. He also coached at South Carolina, but this will be his first go-around as a coordinator.

Butler expected defensive line coach Larry Johnson and linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden to remain on staff. Both are well-respected position coaches and recruiters who were held over by O'Brien from the previous staff.

``There's going to be a ton of consistency with Ron being here and Larry,'' Butler said. ``We're going to put this thing together. It will be very similar to what we did in 2012.''

Butler expects to keep his secondary responsibilities as well, but likely will be limited to either just the cornerbacks or safeties. It would still leave one opening on the Penn State staff.

The Nittany Lions will lose Mauti, Gerald Hodges, and Jordan Hill in 2013, all key defensive starters. Six starters return including defensive end Deion Barnes, middle linebacker Glenn Carson and three members of the secondary.

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Follow Genaro Armas athttp://twitter.com/GArmasAP

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Is Adrian Peterson a good fit with the Redskins?

Is Adrian Peterson a good fit with the Redskins?

Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs in NFL history.

But is he the best running back for the Redskins right now?

The Redskins signed Peterson, 33 years old and a 12-year NFL veteran, to a one-year contract. They have been hit with injuries at the running back position, most notably the loss of second-round pick Derrius Guice for the season with a torn ACL. They didn’t make any moves when that diagnosis was announced a week and a half ago. But they lost two more backs to short-term injuries last Thursday and they decided that now is the time to go out and get somebody.

Is the need for a running back really there? Rob Kelley was the starter for the last half of the 2016 season and for seven games last year before a variety of ailments sent him to injured reserve. Samaje Perine became the starter after that and while he struggled at time he also showed growth potential.

Kelley is 25 and Perine is 22. In the absence of Guice, they could develop and when Guice returns next year the team would have a good stable of young running backs.

But now, Peterson is in the picture. We don’t yet know what his role will be, but they did not sign him to be the back who is inactive on game days. He will get some carries and that will take work away from Perine and Kelley.

Now, if Peterson is more productive than either of the two younger backs then that is a worthwhile swap. But what does he have left in the tank at age 33?

Last year, playing for the Saints and Cardinals he gained 529 yards on 156 carries, a very pedestrian average of 3.4 years per carry. That is very similar to the production of Perine, who had 175 carries for 603 yards, a 3.4 average. In his two years in the NFL, Kelley has averaged 3.9 yards per carry.

By signing Peterson, however, the Redskins are hoping that Peterson has one more big year, or at least a medium year by his standards, left in him. After all, it was just in 2015 that he led the NFL in rushing for the third time in his career as he ran for 1,485 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry. The Redskins would be delighted if he could get half of that total.

Any free agent signing can only be evaluated when the contract details are available. We only know that it’s a one-year deal and according to some reports he did not get any money guaranteed at signing. That seems to be a team friendly deal, but we will have to see what might kick in if he is on the Week 1 roster.

As with everything else, time will tell if this move works out. If the money is right, it’s a low risk transaction with some possible upside for Washington.

Back during minicamp while talking about how quickly Alex Smith would have to get up to speed with the offense, Jay Gruden said that the Redskins are not in a rebuilding mode and that they need to win now. After the trade for Smith, the Peterson signing is another indication that patience may be wearing thin.

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Former MVP Adrian Peterson signing with Redskins amid mounting RB injuries

Former MVP Adrian Peterson signing with Redskins amid mounting RB injuries


The Redskins agreed to terms with free agent running back Adrian Peterson, per multiple reports and confirmed by NBC Sports Washington.

Washington added Peterson as their running back group took a number of hits this preseason. Rookie Derrius Guice was lost for the year in the preseason opener, while Byron Marshall, Martez Carter and Samaje Perine got hurt in the second preseason game against the Jets.

Peterson is a huge name. He’s likely headed for the Hall of Fame when his career ends, and he’s one of only a handful of rushers to gain more than 2,000 yards in a season.

His best seasons came with the Vikings, but Peterson hasn’t delivered top flight results since 2015.

If he’s healthy and ready to go, Peterson could be a tremendous steal for the Redskins. There is no way to know until he suits up in the preseason, which could happen as soon as this Friday night against Denver.

On the roster, Washington has Rob Kelley, Kapri Bibbs and Chris Thompson available at running back. At his best, Peterson is significantly better than that group.

Will the Redskins get Peterson at his best?

That’s the big question. And with two preseason games remaining, he will get the chance to prove it.

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