Running backs look to play big role in Redskins offense

When you look at the Redskins offense in 2019 there are a lot of question marks at a number of positions. Running back isn’t one of them.

The group appears to be one of the strongest the Redskins have had in quite some time, a big change from last summer.

The Redskins signed Adrian Peterson midway through the preseason last year after Derrius Guice went down with a torn ACL in the first preseason game and Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall suffered ankle injuries a week later. Chris Thompson was coming off of a broken leg and wasn’t 100 percent until midway through the year.

Former starter Rob Kelley’s season ended after week three with a toe injury.

Fast forward to this summer and they have a healthy Guice, Peterson, Thompson and Perine. Not to mention a few other backs in camp who continue to push the veterans.

Thompson, heading into his seventh season, sees how dangerous the group can be.

“We’ve got a great group of guys,” he said. “I feel like they’re all are capable of being starters in this league, which says a lot. The competition we’ve got from the guys has done nothing but make us better. I think we’ve all made each other better in these first six practices we’ve had.”

Peterson enters his second year with the Redskins coming off a year in which he led the team in rushing with 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns on 251 carries.  It was his eighth 1,000-plus-yard season in his 12-year career.

Not only has Peterson been great on the field for the Redskins, he’s been a great mentor to the young guys in that running back room as well, especially Guice.

Peterson suffered a torn ACL in 2011 and has been able to help Guice as he rehabs his injury as well. Guice has no limitations as he entered camp and continues to get stronger.

“Very good,” says Jay Gruden of his second-year back. “He’s been fine. We’re going to increase his workload next week a little bit more and more. He’s got a good handle on the offense, protections. He’s catching the ball very well, again.”

Add Thompson to the list of people that are anxious to see what the second year running back can do.

“I’m excited to see Guice get going since we weren’t able to see him last year. A lot of the younger guys too,” he said.

While many might consider this a three person running back group, don’t tell Jay Gruden that.

“Yeah, you can’t disregard Samaje Perine,” the coach said. “He’s been outstanding, even catching the ball, protection he’s been great, strong he’s been great. Those guys have been very good. Craig Reynolds has done a good job, Byron Marshall’s showing flashes still. I think the running back room is pretty solid. We added Shaun [Wilson]. He’s showing flashes of speed and able to catch the ball, so it’s a deep room and it’s going to be some tough decisions in that room, that’s for sure.”

Competition is always good at any position. It can only help guys improve each day.

“We’re going to keep getting better and better,” said Thompson. “It should be a really good year for the backs.”

Follow along as George Wallace covers training camp in this WTOP live blog.

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