In Sunday’s contest against Green Bay, veterans Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson put on a show that could ultimately save HC Jay Gruden’s job with the Washington Redskins
Most Washington Redskins fans are anticipating somewhat of an average year. After Washington let quarterback Kirk Cousins walk due to his strong desire to leave, they felt slight comfort in having acquired already established signal caller, Alex Smith via Kansas City.
Skins’ head coach Jay Gruden has been in his role five seasons now, and this season feels like Gruden’s make or break year.
Gruden posted his best regular season record during his second year in Washington, finishing 9-7.
Since Gruden took over the Redskins in 2014 the team is 30-36-1, third in the NFC East behind Philadelphia and Dallas and just three games over the Giants for dead last. It’s a position Redskins owner Dan Snyder, known around the league as a hands-on owner, is not happy with, and has voiced his frustration over.
After an unfortunate injury to the Skins’ second round draft pick in Derrius Guice, many thought the running game would be nonexistence this season. After the loss of Guice, Washington elected to sign veteran free agent Adrian Peterson, who has bounced from team to team after his departure from Minnesota.
Against Green Bay on Sunday was just the latest showcase for the playmaking abilities of veterans Smith and Peterson. At this point in the year, not many expected to see two players well into their 30’s carrying the entire team.
Don’t get me wrong, the Redskins pipeline from Tuscaloosa on their young defense is playing well, as are tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis. However, the last three weeks, especially this past Sunday, both Peterson and Smith have shown strong signs that this is their team, and they will not go down without a fight.
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Peterson rushed for over 80 yards in the first half, a feat he had not accomplished since his days back in Minnesota. Peterson also cashed in two rushing touchdowns on the afternoon, surpassing greats Shaun Alexander and Marshall Faulk in the record book.
Smith has committed just one turnover all season, a misread by both he and his star tight end Jordan Reed. In all three games played, Smith has shown incredibly smart decision-making, great pocket presence, and has thrown for over 200 yds.
The Redskins are currently experimenting with some changes at the wide receiver position, kudos to Smith for continually showing off with the mediocre receiving corps he has been handed.
No one, including myself, expected to see this type of play out of Washington. As their season continues, the real test will come once they face the 2-1 Philadelphia Eagles, whom their tied with atop the NFC East.
If both Smith and Peterson continue their strong play throughout the season, it can without a doubt be known as the saving of Gruden’s job. However, if both fall off the wagon, we could see the departure of Gruden after five seasons at the helm.