The Washington Redskins who are already reeling in controversy with the holdout of left tackle Trent Williams, are now dealing with a new dilemma at running back. Second year back Derrius Guice who received his first start against the Philadelphia Eagles in yesterday’s season opener is reported to have hurt his knee.
The injury happened at some point in yesterday’s 32-27 loss against the Eagles. It is the non-surgical knee that Guice injured last year during the preseason and cost the 2018 second-round draft pick his rookie season. The other knee was injured in college, however, and is undergoing an MRI.
Washington and specifically coach Jay Gruden were all on board with giving Guice the starting job and the bulk of the running duties. This was despite Guice’s injury history and the fact that future Hall of Fame RB Adrian Peterson is still on the roster.
Last year Peterson was named the Redskins offensive MVP after running for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns. He also pulled in 20 catches for 208 yards and pass-catching TD.
The Redskins were set to go into the regular season with a deep and versatile unit that also consisted of dual-threat back Chris Thompson.
Yesterday after the Redskins lost to the Eagles, Gruden addressed the media with a surprising stance on going with Guice as the starter and the decision to make Peterson inactive.
“He’s [Peterson] a first and second-down back,” Gruden responded when asked about Peterson being inactive. “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.”
The response was met with bewilderment on social media and came across as disrespectful to a running back that has accomplished everything possible at his position. At 34, Peterson still has a lot left in the tank and was thought to be the starter going into training camp.
There was never a public battle for the starting position or at least not made known by team brass. When Guice was named the starter on the teams’ depth chart it was a surprise to many considering Guice had only a few carries during the preseason and also because of the teams’ negative medical history.
Now the Redskins are embroiled with yet another move that has many fans not happy. The irony is now Gruden may be forced to go back to Peterson with a locker room that has several players that didn’t like the way Peterson was handled. Washington can’t afford to bring on self- inflicted and unnecessary drama this early into a season that already figured to be tough in the early stages of the schedule.
Heading into Week 2 against their rival, the Dallas Cowboys, the Redskins will be in front of a home crowd that is in desperate need of a win to get things back on track and the negative publicity behind them.