4. Starting Running Back: Derrius Guice vs. Adrian Peterson
This may not seem like a battle to some, but it remains possible that these two could jockey for depth chart positioning throughout the season. While Guice has a lot of upside, he is coming off an injury and Peterson did have a 1,000-yard season. So, it’s not a given that Guice will immediately emerge as a starter.
Guice will be a full year removed from an ACL tear during the preseason. And coming into the league, there was a lot of reason for excitement about him as a player. Guice has good balance and is a well-rounded back who could really make a difference in the Washington running game.
However, Guice only ever has seen action in the NFL preseason. So, relying on him to be the full-time starter out of the gate is risky, unless he really shows well during the offseason. Peterson could be mixed in to start the year and in an ideal world, the two will split carries.
That said, there still is a chance that the Redskins may want to give Guice a little extra time to rehab and may really ease him into the role. If that happens, Peterson could end up being the primary starter early in the season while Guice eventually gets a bigger workload. It all depends on how the two look during the preseason.
Also, another name to keep an eye on here as a dark horse is Samaje Perine. The third-year back has been praised profusely by Jay Gruden this offseason. While that may be an attempt to drive up his trade value, he could force his way into the backfield rotation if he performs well in the preseason. Perine has upside and should have been given an opportunity to get work last season, Instead, Gruden chose to go with guys like Byron Marshall late in the year when he really should have seen what Perine was capable of doing in his second NFL season.
This isn’t really a traditional position battle, as both Guice and Peterson seem likely to have big roles with the Redskins. But, it’s worth keeping an eye on, especially to see how much Guice has been able to progress this offseason.