Another year, another knee injury for Derrius Guice.
The Washington Redskins‘ top running back, who missed the entire 2018 campaign with a torn left ACL, is now hampered by a right meniscus issue that’s expected to cost him “a few weeks,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports. Fowler added that Guice, who underwent an MRI on Monday, hopes the injury is merely a sprain and that his recovery won’t last longer than one or two games.
In other words, he won’t go next Sunday when Washington welcomes the NFC East-rival Dallas Cowboys to FedEx Field for the first of two meetings this season.
The No. 59 overall pick of last year’s draft, Guice rushed 10 times for 18 yards in his NFL debut — a 32-27 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. He also caught three balls for 20 yards as the starting RB behind veteran quarterback Case Keenum.
Guice got the nod over former All-Pro back Adrian Peterson, who was declared inactive against Philadelphia, a controversial move that head coach Jay Gruden buried in hypotheticals.
“He’s a first- and second-down back,” Gruden said of Peterson, via the Washington Post. “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.”
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It’s a bit awkward now, but the ‘Skins have no choice but to turn to Peterson with Guice on the shelf. He’ll likely draw the start in Week 2 and cede passing snaps to third-down specialist Chris Thompson.
If anything, this turn of events will placate Peterson, a future Hall of Famer who was none too pleased by Gruden’s gameday roster math, and intimated his frustration to reporters.
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No matter if it’s Peterson or Thompson toting the rock, the Cowboys will welcome the matchup after surrendering 120 yards on 11 carries to New York star Saquon Barkley, who ripped off a 59-yard run on his second touch Sunday.
“It’s really like Barry Sanders,” defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said of defending Barkley, prior to the game. “Very similar. You may have a lot of plays where you keep him to minimal, 5 yards, and then the ability to break the long one. You got to be on top of the details. We have to be disciplined.”
Peterson isn’t Sanders, especially in his age-34 season, but he remains capable of burning Dallas’ defense if they take poor angles (looking at you, Jeff Heath), fail to complete tackles, or otherwise lower their guard in an always-challenging divisional road tilt.
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