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Gruden: Redskins dealt an unfair hand by NFL schedule makers

Gruden: Redskins dealt an unfair hand by NFL schedule makers

Looking at the Redskins schedule this week, it's absurd Washington played Sunday night and must play again Thursday afternoon. After holding back for some time, Jay Gruden opened up. 

"I don’t think it’s really fair, no, but we have to deal with it," Gruden said. 

Washington put together their best game of the year Sunday night in a 42-24 win over the Packers, and Gruden's squad must hope they can repeat that effort Thursday against the NFL's best Dallas Cowboys. 

The coach explained that the 'Skins staff gameplanned for the Cowboys somewhat during their bye week, but that came three weeks ago now, and both Washington and Dallas have likely brought in new concepts and plays in different situations. 

Beyond tailoring the plan of attack specific to Dallas, the Redskins also need to worry about their players. Football games are tough on player's bodies; there's a reason the sport is generally played with a week off between games.

"The biggest thing is you worry about the health of your football team. This is a physical football game we played last night and we’re at the point in the year where guys are a little bit beat up," Gruden said.

Though the Skins sustained no serious injuries against Green Bay, players like Josh Norman, Will Blackmon and Morgan Moses are already nursing injuries. With just three days between games instead of the normal six, that means substantially less medical treatment and rehab opportunities.

"Guys still have a bunch of bumps and bruises that aren’t on the injury report here and there that they have to take care of their bodies for. It’s going to be tough."

Gruden made clear he wanted his players to rest Monday as Tuesday would be a full day. The Redskins will install the bulk of their game plan on Tuesday and complete their installations on Wednesday before a charter flight to Dallas Wednesday evening. 

Despite the tough travel schedule and condensed rehab for players, Gruden remains confident in his team. Even against the 9-1 Cowboys.

"The good thing is we are familiar with Dallas. They’re obviously a very, very good team playing at a very high level. But I think we can get our guys ready to roll."

An argument can be made that Gruden's team should have beaten Dallas in the team's first meeting in September. Though the Redskins lost that game, the players will likely remember the narrow defeat. The coach certainly does.

"We had a three-point lead down there in the red zone with about nine minutes to go and threw the pick and they went down and scored and beat us here, so for us to keep pace in the division and have a chance at a division title, we’ve got to play our best gameThursday.”

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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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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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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.