ASHBURN, Va. -- He was going to be a weekly miss every Wednesday, a veteran’s day off to rest his body. Instead, Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson has been practicing. Even if it’s only limited, the fact that he’s going through drills suggests one thing: He’s feeling good.
And nine games into his first season with Washington, that’s indeed the case. After hurting his shoulder and his knee in a Week 4 loss at New Orleans, Peterson said he feels fresh. That’s good news for the Redskins, who already are missing six starters or key players on offense.
If they’re going to maintain their lead in the NFC East, Peterson must remain a key factor. In nine games, he has rushed for 672 yards and four touchdowns. At 33, the fear of many -- from fans to prognosticators -- was that he’d wear down.
“I’m feeling good,” Peterson said Wednesday. “Last week I actually started feeling all the way healthy. My shoulder, I’m back to bench pressing. I haven’t did that in three weeks. I’m back to the normal things I was able to do. The ankle is feeling good. The body feels refreshed. It was a grind the first eight weeks and here now, as I stand in front of you guys, my body is feeling amazing.”
The Redskins know they must run the ball well in order to win. But their opponent Sunday, the Houston Texans, have held four of their past six opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing. For the season, opposing backs have averaged just 3.6 yards per carry vs. Houston. The Texans have faced three teams currently ranked in the top 12 in rushing yards per game; none have finished with more than 100 yards.
The Texans held Dallas' Ezekiel Elliott to 54 yards on 20 carries.
In the Redskins' six wins, Peterson has rushed for at least 90 yards five times. In their three losses he has gained a combined 43 yards.
It won’t be easy Sunday for Washington or Peterson. For the second straight week he'll be running behind a line that's missing three of its original starters.
"They have a great front,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “They are big and they're powerful and it's hard to get outside. It's hard to get the edge because they set the edges. Their linebackers are playing fast and their safeties are getting involved quite a bit also. They're a good defense and they play very fast and it's not easy.”
But at least for the Redskins, their top offensive weapon feels good.