DefenseGrade vs. Bengals: DComment:Lets start off by discussing what went right for the Redskins defense on Sunday. With linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker lost for the season, opportunity knocked for backups. One of them, Rob Jackson, seized his opportunity, recording three tackles for loss and intercepting a pass in the end zone for a touchdown in his first NFL start.That, however, is where the positive reviews end.As a unit, the Redskins struggled from the Bengals first play from scrimmage through the fourth quarter, yielding 450-plus yards of total offense for the second straight week, while sacking Andy Dalton only twice. In 16 games last season, the 13th-ranked unit surrendered 400 yards a total of three times.The biggest concern entering Sundays game in Tampa is the inadequate play of the secondary and, specifically, its vulnerability to big plays. A week after Sam Bradford and the Rams completed pass plays of 56, 34, 27 and 25 yards, the Bengals connected on long passes of 73, 59, 48, 38, 27, 25 and 22 yards. The three longest all resulted in touchdowns.Theres plenty of blame to spread around. DeJon Gomes and DeAngelo Hall failed to impede A.J. Green on the wildcat formation that resulted in the 73-yard score on Cincinnatis first play from scrimmage. Josh Wilson gambled and lost on the 38-yard touchdown and rookie Richard Crawford was burned by a double move on the 59-yarder in the fourth quarter that clinched the victory.Is the culprit preparation? Personnel? Injuries? The simple answer is its probably a combination of all three.The secondary seemed utterly confused and slow to react on the Bengals trick play in the first quarter.Injuries are hurting, too. The trio of linebackers asked to replace Orakpo -- Jackson, Chris Wilson and Markus White must improve in pass coverage. Gomes has been playing for Brandon Meriweather. Crawford played on Sunday for Cedric Griffin, who suffered a hamstring injury early and did not return. And dont forget that the team had been counting on a significant contribution from Tanard Jackson, who was suspended for the season after failing a drug test.Thats not an excuse, its reality.Whats frustrates Hall the most, though, is the fact that core defensive players had longed for an offense that up points. Now theyve got one, they cant stop anyone.Last year, 21 points was a great day, Hall said. To see this offense go out these last three weeks and put up the kind of points they have and the defense go out there and totally drop the ball, its frustrating.
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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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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