Adrian Peterson is still learning new tricks

Brian Tinsman
October 11, 2018 - 11:21 pm
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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

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Nobody watching Adrian Peterson in 2018 would accuse him of being an "old dog," but after 137 NFL games and 14,600 all-purpose yards, you'd think you know what tricks a guy has. 

Not so for "All Day," who is currently on pace for the most single-season receiving yards in his Hall of Fame career.

He goes into Week 6 with 136 receiving yards, good for fourth-best on the team, and three games with at least 30 receiving yards. Before joining the Redskins, he had just three 30-yard receiving games in his last 54 contests spread across three different teams, dating back to 2012.

Already, he has more receiving yards in a season than four of his 12 seasons. Given Alex Smith's early season discomfort with the receiving corps, running backs have accounted for 37 percent of the team's receptions, suggesting that Peterson will have ample receiving opportunities throughout the season.

After a Week 5 shoulder injury, however, the question is whether or not he can handle the role. This was the report on Tuesday afternoon after an MRI showed a shoulder strain:

Dr. David J. Chao, a retired NFL team doctor who now writes for the media, offered this interpretation based on what he saw:

This is consistent with a dislocation/subluxation (shifts out of joint) where one might tear the labrum. He is seen adjusting his shoulder as he gets up, exits the game and is seen "pulling" down on his shoulder as players who dislocate tend to do as the Redskins orthopedic is standing next to him and examining him. He does not return in the first half.

Peterson at least subluxed (partially dislocated) his shoulder. Any complete dislocation would mean a labral tear. Labral tears do not heal on their own and, thus, he might choose to have surgery immediately.

He could use a brace/harness to try to finish the season before surgery. That wouldn't affect his running ability or ball carrying, but it could affect his ability to pass protect and catch the ball.

All of a sudden, Peterson's start as a major factor in the passing game could suddenly be limited to rushing downs. If Peterson is unable to pass protect or catch the ball, then he hardly serves as a decoy or outlet in passing situations, which limits his ability to rush the ball as effectively either.

Of the several injuries that the Redskins are juggling early in the season, this could be the most impactful.

 

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