But coach Jay Gruden admitted it was tough to not give the veteran running back a uniform last week against the Eagles, deactivating a guy with 13,318 career rushing yards so he could fully fund his special teams units.
“It’s not easy,” Gruden said of the call, via J.P. Finlay of NBCSportsWashington.com. “Adrian was on a couple of teams before we got him. It’s hard sometimes to dress two backs on first down, two first down backs. You have to have guys who different things. You have to have a third-down back. Sometimes it’s Chris Thompson, somebody else got to play third down. Somebody has to help on special teams. It’s hard to get everybody up on a 46-man roster. We just chose to dress [Wendell] Smallwood for a special teams sake and only dress three running backs, which is something we’ve done since I’ve been here pretty much.
“So it was a tough decision, something you never want to do, especially with Adrian Peterson. It’s one game. We could dress them all next week and the week after that. So we’ll just address it next week. But this week, with Darren Sproles back there on punts and on the road, we thought it was important to really have the coverage unit in place.”
It’s easy for Gruden now, since Guice is expected to miss time with a knee injury suffered in the opener, and the coach is fine with that.
“I’m very comfortable,” he said. “[Guice and Peterson] are 1 and 1a to me. They’re the same position. If something happens and Derrius can’t go, we’re happy to play AP and not even bat an eye. Hopefully Derrius will be fine, and eventually, there could be a situation we dress both of them and Chris Thompson. It’s just a matter of where we are special teams wise that given week.”
Of course, kicking game concerns are important. But not being able to run effectively with a 17-point lead (which they blew) might also have been important, and having Peterson in uniform might have helped with that.