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Morgan Moses calls out Redskins coaches for sitting Adrian Peterson: ‘It’s a slap in the face’

Morgan Moses during training camp. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
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Washington Redskins right tackle Morgan Moses wasn’t happy with the decision to make running back Adrian Peterson a healthy scratch on Sunday, and said he plans to say something to the Redskins’ coaching staff to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“Any time you’ve got a Hall of Fame guy that doesn’t dress, man, it’s a slap in the face,” Morgan told the Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan on Monday, when asked if Peterson would have helped a Redskins running game that produced a measly 28 yards in a season-opening loss to the Eagles. “ … It’s my job as one of the older guys on the offensive line to speak up and say, ‘Hey, we need him.' Obviously, you don’t put a Hall of Fame guy like that on the sideline, and when he’s healthy, as well. I think he brings a lot to the game. I think he brings a lot to our team. But to have that guy just standing on the sideline is just, it doesn’t sit well to guys on the team or the NFL."

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Shortly after the news broke that Peterson would be a healthy inactive for the first time in his career Sunday morning, reports emerged that the decision hadn’t gone over well with Peterson’s teammates.

“I’ve talked to a couple people earlier in the week, and even today, and they’re not happy about this,” former Redskins linebacker and CBS Sports Network analyst London Fletcher said on “That Other Pregame Show.” “Not everyone is on board with Adrian Peterson not playing in this ballgame. … It’s affecting that locker room. I just don’t understand it.”

Moses first expressed his displeasure with the decision to reporters after the Redskins rushed for their fewest yards in a season opener since 1965.

“You don’t have too many walking Hall of Famers on your football team,” Moses said Sunday. “ … Obviously, we think he’s a hell of a football player. He has a hell of a lot of juice left. Hopefully, it’s just a one-week thing and we can move forward.”

Gruden’s decision to sit Peterson in favor of running backs Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson and Wendell Smallwood was based in part on his desire to have another player who could contribute on special teams active, which Smallwood provided. Gruden also suggested there weren’t enough carries to go around between Guice, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, and Peterson, who rushed for 1,042 yards in 2018.

“He’s a first- and second-down back,” Gruden said of Peterson after the game. “So is Derrius. So, really, what do we have? About 20 first downs a game. Probably eight of those are passes, 12 of those might be runs, and Derrius can handle those 12. So if we have a game where we think we can run the ball 55 times in a game in an I-formation, then sure, I’ll get him up.”

Gruden said the decision of whether to activate Peterson will be “week-to-week,” while Moses said he will be “very surprised” if Peterson is inactive for Washington’s home opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

“With Guice coming off the injury and him having his first action, a lot of us felt like Adrian should have been out there, even if it was just to spare Guice,” Moses said. “ … I know I’m not the only person that feels that way, but we gotta correct some things.”

Fellow running back Chris Thompson said he also “wanted AP to be out there” against the Eagles, but understood the coaching staff’s need to consider special teams when deciding on its list of inactives.

“I was excited, too, just possibly being a three-headed monster out there, being able to come in after he and Guice had pounded on the defense,” Thompson, who rushed for 10 yards on three carries, said Monday on 106.7 The Fan. “ … I don’t know if he makes a difference [Sunday] or not, but we’d still like to see him.”

Penalties didn’t help the Redskins’ running game against the Eagles. Moses, who led the NFL in accepted penalties last season and committed two of Washington’s 12 penalties on Sunday, criticized the officiating after the game and suggested the referees had it out for the Redskins. He repeated that opinion on Monday, but added that penalties weren’t the reason Washington lost.

“I might be stretching this a little bit … but there’s no question that we’ve been targeted throughout the NFL these last couple of seasons on penalties,” he said. “We do our best to play by the rules, but sometimes these holding calls, they’re just outrageous. Obviously, these referees have never played a lick of football in their life, and for some reason they think it’s holding. When you’ve got your hands inside the breastplate, or if you’re running and diving at somebody, there’s no way that can be a hold. … It’s a little outrageous, but you gotta figure out a way to get around it.”

Washington committed the seventh-most penalties in the NFL last season and the fifth fewest in 2017.

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