Redskins Running Backs Running on Competition & Hope

Chris Russell

Adrian Peterson leads a running back room that is deep, fairly flexible  and possibly very good. 

Or it could be a major disappointment?

The NFC East is loaded with strong running back groups or at lead lead horses so the Redskins were not ranked well by John McMullen and Ed Kracz of "EagleMaven" and their personnel sources. 

Examining the NFC East: Running Backs

Our daily series examining the NFC East from a positional perspective with the help of league personnel sources moves to running back, an embarrassment of riches in the division with a proven All-Pro, perhaps the most physically-gifted option in the game, and a slam dunk future Hall of Famer among the lead backs.

"Not ranked well" as in last place of the four NFC East teams. 

Oh well. I can see it completely because there's so many questions about Derrius  Guice and Bryce Love, along with Peterson's age. 

 Here's part of the Redskins portion from the piece above:

"Adrian Peterson is perhaps the best combination of speed and power at the RB position since Jim Brown but he’s also 35 at a position where 30 is a dirty word. Peterson remains a physical marvel and is a former MVP at a position that is arguably the most devalued in the entire league, an almost incomprehensible achievement.

"Even in his prime, however, Peterson was never a well-rounded back and the Redskins would have liked the oft-injured Derrius Guice to take over the lead role by now but that might never happen. Former Stanford star Bryce Love and ex-Tampa Bay RB Peyton Barber are also in the mix."

There's more on the Redskins in that feature, such as the addition of J.D. McKissic and the drafting of Antonio Gibson, so you should absolutely check it out. 

Here's what I would be willing to say: I strongly believe Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders are better individually than anything the Redskins have. That's not a question. 

I do believe the Redskins have as much potential depth as anyone if Guice and Love can stay healthy. 

That's a huge if. Guice hasn't been able to in any way for two seasons in the NFL and Love never even practiced a snap in his rookie year while recovering from a severe knee ligament procedure. 

New Redskins Offensive Coordinator Scott Turner likes the mix so far in that group:

"We want to add quality guys and create competition. It’s no secret that we took over a team that hasn’t been in the best place, right. It’s not like I’m saying anything anybody doesn’t know, 3-13 last year," Turner said on Wednesday.

"We’ve got a long way to go to get better and I think the way to do that is to create competition on your roster. So we wanted to add guys we added a guy like [RB] Peyton Barber, [RB] J.D. McKissic, and then in the draft, you know like I said, [RB Antonio] Gibson is kind of a tweener type player. Just let these guys compete in practice and we’ll evaluate them as coaches and talking with [Head] Coach [Ron] Rivera and everyone in the building. Then we’ll play who we feel gives us the best chance to win."

The most interesting part of what Turner had to say in my opinion about the running back group?

"What we didn’t want to do is handcuff ourselves to where, ‘hey this is the guy and we’ve got to play him.’ It doesn’t matter, you know what I mean. Right now, we have options and we’ve got guys that are competing and whoever ends up winning the competition is going to be better for it because they’ve got guys pushing them.”

That's exactly what the thought process should be. Hopefully the Redskins will make the right decisions and not suffer the consequences.

It would be real easy if Guice just takes the ball, keeps running and never looks back. That's the main mission. You can't count on it but you can hope for it. 

Ron Rivera knows what that looks like. His final game in Carolina was largely because of a dual attack by Guice and Peterson that wore down the Panthers defense and delivered a knockout blow.

That's how you protect a young quarterback. That's how you win games in the NFL. 

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Chris Russell is the Publisher of & Sports Illustrated's Washington Redskins channel. He can be heard on 106.7 The FAN in the Washington D.C. area and world-wide on Chris also hosts the "Locked on Redskins" Podcast and can be read via subscription to Warpath Magazine. You can e-mail Chris at or follow him on Twitter at @Russellmania621.