Hoffman: Redskins' emphasis on running game 'a long time coming'

Josh Luckenbaugh
September 10, 2018 - 11:00 am
Adrian_Peterson

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Surprisingly to some, the Redskins offense leaned heavily on its running back duo of Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson during Washington's 24-6 victory over Arizona Sunday to open the 2018 season.

However, according to Craig Hoffman, this development shouldn't be all that shocking. 

"In a way, this was a long time coming, but in a way, obviously, it wasn't," Hoffman said during an appearance on The Sports Junkies Monday morning. "The way it was a long time coming was, this was the plan with Derrius Guice. So the plan all offseason has been to have a bell-cow back, and to ride that back, and use this offensive line that they've built over the past couple of years to get a power back and really establish the run and power down teams' throats."

"Both sides work together, right? The defense is allowed to stay fresh cuz they're not on the field, because you've got — at halftime, the play discrepancy was I think more than double, and wound up being 70-something to 50-something. So, by running the ball, your defense is more effective, you can control the clock, the game is shorter. There's a lot of benefits."

The Redskins certainly reaped the benefits on Sunday, out-gaining the Cardinals 429 to 213, and moving the chains 30 times to Arizona's 14. 

But as Hoffman went on to mention, it was not Guice who headlined Washington's ground attack, the rookie out for the season with a torn ACL

"The who changed, and the fact that it is Adrian Peterson, who was not here two weeks ago, and he's already earned the trust of this coaching staff, is pretty remarkable," Hoffman said. "But then again, as a football player ... remarkable is what he's been his entire career, basically."

Peterson showed why he's destined for the Hall of Fame with a standout performance against his former team, rushing 26 times for 96 yards and a touchdown, earning the game ball from Jay Gruden afterwards.

And Peterson wasn't the only member of the Redskins backfield to impress. Chris Thompson totaled 128 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in his first game since fracturing his fibula last November

"It's just a matter of figuring out how to best utilize him in certain situations, and knowing that some of those touches are not going to be planned; some of those touches are gonna be checkdowns," Hoffman said of Thompson. "He just has an innate ability to know where the sticks are ... He just is so good at knowing exactly where he needs to get to, and figuring out a way to somehow get there."

"It's not just that he's got these 12 to 15 touches, it feels like he has 12 to 15 touches that matter. I didn't wind up going back and counting, but had to have six or seven first downs on his own last night, which is insane for a guy who is, technically speaking, a role player."

It's easy to jump to conclusions after Week 1, and after last season the Redskins know better than anyone how mid-season injuries can decimate an offense. But on the evidence of Sunday, the Redskins look to have an intimidating running back duo in Peterson and Thompson. 

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