Gruden: 'Heck no,' Adrian Peterson won't be playing in preseason finale

Chris Lingebach
August 27, 2018 - 5:09 pm
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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Gruden says Adrian Peterson, who has a chance to start at running back, will not play in the Redskins' preseason finale against Baltimore Thursday.

"No. Heck no. No. C'mon," Gruden told Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan.

Peterson shined in his Redskins debut on Friday, picking up 56 yards on 11 carries against Denver. 

"He was kind of mad at me," Gruden joked. "He had 11 carries in the game and he looked at me kind of funny. He said, 'Hey, am I done?' And I said yes. He kind of gave me a dirty look. I almost put him back in. He kind of scared me."

Asked if Peterson has a chance to be the starter at running back, Gruden said, "Oh, without a doubt. I think so. I think Rob Kelley and Samaje, they're good running backs. We're happy with them. But Samaje's been beat up with his ankle, so he hasn't been able to practice for the last week or so, and Rob's really been the only healthy, big back we've got. So Rob and Adrian could be our 1-2, and Samaje could be 3, and then obviously Chris Thompson. We have Byron Marshall and Kapri Bibbs still to decide about. We've got some choices there, but I would imagine Adrian will be there."

Gruden spoke of the gut-punch of losing rookie Derrius Guice for the season to a torn ACL, and the decision to see if Peterson had anything left in the tank.

"Derrius Guice was having a great camp, OTAs, camp," he said. "I mean, he looks great – explosive, fast, strong – picked up the offense very well. He caught the ball very well. And then, on his seventh carry, he blows his knee out. He's gonna get well and we'll get him back next year, but then Byron Marshall went down and obviously Chris Thompson has been coming back from his injury, but he's doing great.

"But we had to get another body in here and Adrian Peterson was available. We worked him out. After about 45 minutes to an hour in a workout, he didn't even break a sweat. He wasn't even breathing heavy. So he's in great shape, a physical freak and we signed him."

With 11 wide receivers competing to make the 53-man roster, the Redskins will have some tough calls to make at the position. Cam Sims, an undrafted free agent out of Alabama, has quickly become a fan favorite. Does Gruden see him as someone who can contribute to the team?

"I think so, in due time, and I think this thigh injury's set him back a little bit," he said. "When you're a rookie free agent, you don't get a lot of reps. You've got to take advantage of them when you do get 'em, and Cam did a great job of that. Then he got in the game, made some big plays. He dropped a ball that was intercepted, but then he came back and made some big-time plays, and then he hurt his thigh and it's kind of set him back a little bit."

"But right now, our five guys, with Mo Harris and obviously Crowder and Josh, and Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn – I think his emergence has been pretty good," Gruden continued. "Those guys are pretty good. Now Quick and obviously Cam, those guys are competing for six, but those guys can make a big impact, as we all know, with injuries."

Asked if they could keep six receivers, Gruden said, "I would think so, unless something happens where we need a spot somewhere else. You know, maybe a fourth tight end or a fullback, or an extra offensive lineman, or an extra quarterback, depending on how Colt's thumb is, and so on and so forth. There's a lot of things that go into how many players you keep at each position. Sometimes you want to keep more but can't."

There's some thought that Washington could carry three quarterbacks, especially after Colt McCoy injured his thumb against the Broncos.

"It totally depends," Gruden said when asked if the Redskins could keep three QBs. "He'll be back here this afternoon. We'll find out. I think he feels pretty good. He can grip the football and throw it, so if he can do that, then I know Colt – he'll be just fine. He'll play with just about anything."

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