The Washington Redskins spent the offseason stockpiling running backs like a Memorial Day Weekend camper picks up kindling.
Washington signed RBs Peyton Barber and J.D. McKissic and drafted Antonio Gibson in the third round. The trio joined a running backs room that already housed Adrian Peterson, Derrius Guice and Bryce Love — both coming off knee injuries — and Josh Ferguson.
Incumbent starter Adrian Peterson isn’t worried about competition for snaps this season.
“I’ve always had the mindset of being open to competition,” Peterson said, via ESPN. “So I will embrace it the same way. People ask me that question all the time — ‘Man, the Redskins are really packing that running back room, huh?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, they are.’ But hey … just gotta execute and produce.”
Last season, Peterson rushed 211 times for 898 yards, 4.3 YPA, with five rushing TDs. No longer a game-changer, the 35-year-old running back can still hit a hole and move bodies. While he’s clearly not the same rusher that carried the Vikings for a decade, Peterson can still blast off on occasion. His six 20-plus-yard runs ranked 12th last season, tied with Christian McCaffrey and more than big names like Todd Gurley, Aaron Jones, Alvin Kamara (5) or Ezekiel Elliott (4).
Despite being the lead ball-carrier in Washington the past two years, the additions this offseason suggest the Redskins’ new staff wants to curtail Peterson’s touches. While McKissic projects as a third-down pass-catcher, Barber and Gibson could siphon off carries.
“Both of those guys are talented, especially the young guy coming in,” Peterson said. “It was a good move. When you’ve got good players and playmakers out there, you want to add those guys to the team.”
Guice’s health is a wild card as well. He was poised to take a large chunk of snaps before another injury struck last season.
With a new coaching staff in town and a bulked-up RB room, the Redskins are poised to employ a heavy running back committee in 2020. Peterson noted that he expects times when multiple backs are used in sets — Gibson’s and McKissic’s skillsets lend to this possibility.
“It’s been exciting to see our role in the offense,” Peterson said.
How big that role for the man known as All Day will be in 2020 remains to be seen.