Jay Gruden denies he dislikes Adrian Peterson’s running style

Michael David Smith

Washington coach Jay Gruden kept running back Adrian Peterson inactive for Week One, and relented in Week Two only because Derrius Guice was injured. But he’s denying that he has anything against the way Peterson plays.

Responding to a report during Sunday’s FOX broadcast that he thinks Peterson is too much of a straight-ahead runner, Gruden said that is not the case.

You want north-south running backs. I don’t think you want east-west backs, that’s for sure,” Gruden told NBCSportsWashington.com. “[Peterson] is a north-south runner. . . . When he gets going north-south, what that does is creates a physical mentality for our offense. Our linemen love it, and it opens up our play-action passes. We do love north-south backs.”

Gruden did hint, however, that he believes Guice can be more versatile and do more with different personnel.

“[Peterson] is a north-south runner,” Gruden said. “What that does, sometimes, ya know it’s hard when he’s in the game, like yesterday we were in 11 personnel and they put base on the field and said ‘heck you’re just not going to run it’ and you know we had to throw it.”

With Washington working out running backs, it’s fair to question whether Gruden really believes in Peterson. Guice’s injury gave Gruden little choice but to turn to Peterson, but if he can’t improve on Sunday’s 10-carry, 25-yard performance, Peterson may not be the starting running back for much longer.