After accounting for 166 yards in his Redskins debut, running back Adrian Peterson said this week he’s still working on mastering Coach Jay Gruden’s playbook. He’s also relearning the value of being a patient runner and remembering what it’s like to be handed the ball behind a strong offensive line.
“These guys, they’ve got a heck of an offensive line coach and he does a great job with those guys and has for the past couple of years,” Peterson told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio on Tuesday’s episode of the “PFT PM” podcast. “Having these guys up front that create holes, these guys are big, athletic, they can run. Having that trust, being in sync with those guys and letting those plays develop more, is something that I’m working on as well. Because normally, I’m just like, bam, 100 miles per hour, taking the last couple of situations I’ve been in where the offensive line, I really couldn’t count on them actually doing their job. With these guys, nine times out of 10, they’re going to get the job done. So being patient and trusting the scheme with where the ball is supposed to hit is something that I’m working on as well.”
Peterson, who had mixed success last season in Arizona while running behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, was so happy with the job offensive line coach Bill Callahan’s unit did against the Cardinals on Sunday that he’s already planning to shower his linemen with gifts.
“I’m getting these guys some mattresses,” Peterson said. “I want to make sure that they’re sleeping in comfort, that they’re well rested. I’m going to get those guys set up with king-size mattresses and just go from there.”
Peterson’s 96 yards rushing Sunday moved him past Marshall Faulk and Jim Brown and into 10th place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list. At 12,372 career rushing yards, Peterson is 367 yards behind Tony Dorsett for ninth place and 887 yards behind Eric Dickerson for eighth place, but he’s aiming higher. Last week on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Peterson said he hadn’t given up on his goal of breaking Emmitt Smith’s record. Hey, only 5,983 yards for the 33-year-old to go.
“I feel like it’s realistic, you know, very realistic,” Peterson told Florio when asked about eclipsing Smith’s mark. “In the great words of Kevin Garnett, ‘Anything is possible.’ So that’s how I view it. If I’m to continue to have success and stay injury-free and play three to four more years, I definitely see myself claiming that title. In order to achieve something, you have to believe it, you know? I’m a believer.”
It’s unclear whether Peterson’s Week 1 performance made a believer of Cris Carter, the former Vikings wide receiver and Fox Sports 1 host who predicted failure, based on personal experience, for the running back after he signed with the Redskins during the preseason.
“Did you see me in a Dolphins uniform?” Carter asked USA Today’s Jarrett Bell last month, referencing his final year in the NFL as a 37-year-old. “I had no business playing that season. I wouldn’t have admitted it, either. These guys get so sensitive about everything. Adrian had better get over himself. We were all great. But at the end, we all smelled like a baby’s diaper.”
“I’m not really into trying to break people down and beat people down with negative talk, but you have some people that are like that and you just gotta continue to push forward no matter what the naysayers have to say about you,” Peterson told Florio.
Florio asked Peterson if he’d have a special greeting for Carter the next time they met.
“Oh yeah,” Peterson replied with a laugh, “I’m definitely going to try to crush his hand.”
Read more on the Redskins: