When the Washington Redskins made running back Adrian Peterson a healthy scratch for the first time in his career in the Redskins’ season-opening 32-27 loss to the Eagles in Philadelphia on Sunday, he wasn’t the only member of the team who showed his displeasure.
The most recent to speak out was offensive tackle Morgan Moses, who told the Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan on Monday, “Any time you’ve got a Hall of Fame guy that doesn’t dress, man, it’s a slap in the face.”
According to an NFL Network report, several of Peterson’s teammates voiced their objections after the game.
In the Monday interview, Moses added, “The older guys on the offensive line have to speak up and say: ‘We need him.’ Obviously, you don’t put a Hall of Fame guy like that on the sideline, and when he’s healthy, as well. I think he brings a lot to the game. I think he brings a lot to our team. But to have that guy just standing on the sideline is just, it doesn’t sit well to guys on the team or the NFL. I think that’s something we need to correct cause he’s a hell of a football player.”
Peterson joined Washington after Derrius Guice’s injury in August 2018 and rushed for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns while starting all 16 games a year ago, his most productive season since 2015. He re-signed with the Redskins on a two-year, $5.03 million deal this offseason.
Guice is listed as the starter on the Redskins’ depth chart, followed by Peterson, Chris Thompson and fourth-string back Wendell Smallwood. Guice and Thompson combined to gain 28 rushing yards on 13 carries Sunday.
Responding to Moses’ comments on Monday, Redskins coach Jay Gruden said, “Adrian is well-liked in the locker room. He’s well-liked by the coaches. He’s well-liked by everybody, without a doubt. Like I said before, it wasn’t an easy decision to make him inactive without a doubt.
“However, we did need Smallwood to cover some punts. He did a great job on kickoff return and punt cover and we needed an extra linebacker, also. ... This week, in general, I thought it was best to dress three backs, the extra linebacker, and one of the backs being a special teams player.”
Obviously, Peterson didn’t hold back regarding the decision.
“I don’t think I’ve kind of grasped it yet,” Peterson told The Washington Post on Sunday after the game. “It was tough, of course. I’m a super competitor. ... So it was tough not being out there, so I just have to make the best out of the situation, and in that way, I just become a coach on the sideline. Helping the guys out as much as I could, and cheering for the guys as well.”
—Field Level Media