Morgan Moses calls the benching of Adrian Peterson ‘a slap in the face’
The Washington Redskins evidently have a situation on their hands as Morgan Moses called out the coaching staff’s decision to bench Adrian Peterson for the season opener.
The Washington Redskins played a great first half against the Philadelphia Eagles. They had a 17-point lead and took a 20-7 lead into the locker room. While they weren’t able to hang on for the win, there were some encouraging signs that the team played better than expected against a team that many thought was far superior to them. It seemed that there were at least enough positives to roll with moving forward and potentially help the Redskins to build and win some games in the near future.
Well, not so fast. It appears that there may be some minor discord surrounding the decision to bench Adrian Peterson.
Peterson wasn’t active for the first game against the Eagles. He was a healthy scratch. The future Hall of Fame running back’s absence rubbed some members of the Redskins the wrong way. And that included the team’s starting right tackle, Morgan Moses.
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On 106.7 The Fan’s morning show The Sports Junkies, Moses opened up on the team’s decision to bench Peterson. And he was among those that weren’t pleased about it.
“Any time you’ve got a Hall of Fame guy that doesn’t dress, it’s a slap in the face,” Moses said. “You don’t put a Hall of Fame guy like that on the sideline.”
Moses would go on to say that he would talk about the coaching staff about the decision, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out. It’s not like this is a locker room mutiny or anything, but it’s a situation that Jay Gruden will have to address.
Speaking of Gruden, the decision to bench Peterson was certainly a questionable one. He has shown a tendency to only keep three backs active on game day in the past, and that has led to benching some superior players in exchange for special teams talent (think Byron Marshall playing over Samaje Perine last season). But benching Peterson is certainly a step up from a move like that.
Peterson was held out of the lineup while Wendell Smallwood served as the third running back. While Smallwood played a key role on special teams (19 snaps) that Peterson wouldn’t have played, it’s worth noting that he didn’t play on offense. That left the team with just Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson to carry the load.
Those two backs are very talented, but the concern is that the team didn’t really have another between-the-tackles threat to pair with Guice. And when Guice had issues finding running room, they couldn’t really give the Eagles a different look. Had Peterson been active, the Redskins could’ve at least mixed it up to see if they could find more success running the ball. Instead, they had no real between-the-tackles option besides Guice.
Activating Peterson wouldn’t have solved all of the Redskins issues. But it certainly would’ve given them some more offensive flexibility as well as a veteran spark to help keep the team level when they had their big lead. Again, Peterson wasn’t the difference between a win and a loss — that was more about the defense in the second half — but having him active over a guy like Smallwood or Tanner Vallejo could’ve made sense.
It’s hard to imagine that Peterson will be inactive again moving forward given the reaction some veterans had to him being benched. But Gruden did have a postgame quote that may have reflected what he truly thinks of Peterson at this point.
"If we have a game where we think we can run the ball 55 times in a game in I-Formation then sure I’ll get (Peterson) up."
Gruden may not have thought this through, but many felt that this quote was a bit tough. Peterson can offer more than what Gruden says here and while he may have just said this offhanded or in jest, it’s still not a great look.
We’ll keep an eye on Peterson in the upcoming week. It’s possible that this could be resolved very quickly. He could play and this may be a non-issue. But with Moses and some other players upset about it, it’s a situation worth monitoring.