Adrian Peterson had 11 carries for 56 yards against the Broncos. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Experience has told Adrian Peterson his body should have ached Saturday morning. The days after games have never been great for the Washington Redskins’ new running back, especially for a player who has made a career thundering through lines, all but looking for contact.

But after playing his first game in nine months Friday night, Peterson said he was surprised that his body didn’t throb more. Other than some soreness in his neck, he actually felt good.

“I could have had another 15 carries,” he said.

The 11 rushes he had for 56 yards in Friday’s loss to the Denver Broncos have become the story of the preseason for Washington. Few could have expected the 33-year-old, onetime MVP, who went unsigned through the summer, to look like the player he was in his prime. Not with the injuries that damaged his past two seasons.

After watching the tape of Peterson’s performance, Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said he noted his new back’s vision, patience and acceleration. But the thing he liked most was the way Peterson clutched the ball tight against his body.

“Ball security is big for us,” Gruden said.

Peterson actually enjoyed watching the film, as well, something he didn’t think he would after the game, believing he hadn’t run as well as he wanted. He changed his mind Saturday when he noticed small mistakes that easily could be corrected.

“If I was a little more patient on the stretch play, then I could have gotten underneath, or maybe if the receiver had stayed on the block longer, then it would have been a 50-yard run instead of a 13-yard run,” he said, adding that he stressed to several players the importance of staying with plays until their end. “So it’s good to get those mistakes out of the way and clean it up.”

Gruden said Sunday that he wants to see Peterson in more situations than straight runs, to see how he moves on pitches and even a few passing routes.

Peterson, who said he has been “cramming” his new playbook, has been almost defiant in response to suggestions his body is too worn down for him to be effective anymore. When he arrived last week he said those who questioned him “don’t know football.” He was a little tamer Sunday but described “sitting on the couch at the house,” listening to people on television “giving their opinion.” He wondered why none of those unnamed people called him.

And if they had, what would he have said?

“Help this team win a championship and continue being the best player in the league,” he said, smiling.

Injuries complicate position battle

With cuts coming next weekend, Gruden said he is watching several position battles as he and the front office try to make their final decisions for the 53-man roster. No fight might be more contested than the one for the final two or three wide receiver spots, a tussle that is complicated by the fact that two of the most interesting prospects — former Ram Brian Quick and Cam Sims, an undrafted rookie from Alabama — have missed several days with leg injuries.

Neither has practiced since the second preseason game against the New York Jets.

“Quick started off really strong in camp and then had that thigh, and Cam, too, had his big game and then he hurt his thigh,” Gruden said. “Unfortunately they are unavailable to participate, so it makes it very tough, especially like a young guy like Cam who was coming and you see the progress but then it gets stopped and we got to hope he gets ready soon.

“I like them both,” Gruden added. “There’s a lot to like about both those guys, and we might possibly keep them both, so we will wait and see. Hopefully they get better so we can make the right decision.”

QB added for preseason finale

Not wanting to expose Alex Smith or Colt McCoy to injury risk in a meaningless final preseason game, the Redskins signed another quarterback to back up Kevin Hogan for Thursday night’s game at Baltimore. Former Broad Run High quarterback Connor Jessop joined the team Sunday and appeared at practice wearing No. 2. Jessop, a Division II all-American at Shepherd University, went undrafted last spring but participated in the Redskins’ rookie minicamp. He was not signed after the minicamp.

To make room for Jessop, Washington waived wide receiver Allenzae Staggers, who had been signed by the team last week.

The Redskins also waived defensive back Darius Hillary, a veteran of the Cleveland Browns’ and Oakland’ Raiders’ practice squads who had been signed last week. They added former Arizona State defensive tackle JoJo Wicker, considered a sleeper before the draft, who went unpicked. He was cut by Detroit last week.