Washington Redskins interim coach Bill Callahan revamped the practice routine after taking over this week, cutting off music and running more rigorous sessions.
At least one veteran appreciates the change: Adrian Peterson.
“Guys are busting their butts,” the running back said Thursday, via the Washington Times. “They’re working hard. This has been the best week of practice since I’ve been here.”
Peterson might have a cheerier outlook towards Callahan’s modifications because he anticipates getting more touches moving forward.
Callahan has already said he wants to be a ground-focused attack the rest of the way after an 0-5 start to the season under a pass-centric Jay Gruden.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m hyped about it,” Peterson said of Callahan’s plans. “You look at the first four weeks I played, it was like 11, 12, 10, seven carries. It was totally the opposite of what we did last year when we were more successful as a team.”
Added Peterson: “It’ll be exciting to see what (Callahan’s) able to do with full control and kind of doing things the way he actually wants to do them when it comes to the play-calling and stuff like that. (If) the head coach says the run game is going to be a big emphasis, then that’s what it’s going to be what it is.”
The Redskins haven’t run the ball a ton this season in part because they’ve been putrid when attempting to go to the ground. The banged-up offensive line opens few holes, and when they do, running backs rarely make defenders miss.
Washington is averaging 68.8 yards per game on the ground, which is 27th in the NFL, and 3.9 yards per rush. Take out last week’s 65-yard TD run from wide receiver Steven Sims and that average sinks to a piddling 3.2. Peterson himself is averaging a dismal 2.7 yards per attempt for 108 yards on 40 totes with one TD.
With those kinds of averages, combined with Washington repeatedly getting behind in games, it shouldn’t be stunning that the Redskins have only 88 rush attempts through five games. Only the Jets (84) and Dolphins (69) have fewer, and they each only played four tilts.
From Peterson’s perspective, part of the dismal output to start the season is that he hasn’t been able to get into the flow because of Gruden’s proclivity to lean on the pass.
“It’s like ‘God, I’m in a rhythm and I’m feeling it,” Peterson said. “And you kind of just simmer back down. … You’re kind of just on the sidelines anxiously waiting to get back in there to get that look again.
“Now I know how Bill loves to run the ball, he might line it right back up and run it again.”
Callahan gets an ideal matchup to introduce his plan this week, facing a tanking Miami Dolphins squad that ranks last in almost every defensive category, including rushing yards allowed (175.8 per game). If the Redskins can’t get All Day grooving this week, it might not happen this season.