Thursday, December 5, 2013
Peterson learning patience behind blockers
By Ben Goessling
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Even though the numbers would suggest Adrian Peterson has done his best work over the past two seasons when he's following a fullback, the reigning NFL MVP said on Thursday he still hasn't come around completely to the idea of two-back sets.
But, he admitted, the thing he often doesn't like about them might be the thing that helps him the most.
Peterson likes to be alone in the backfield because it allows him to hit the line of scrimmage with a full head of steam, but that can occasionally work against him when he's not patient enough to let a play develop.
"I'm just so quick to shoot the gun sometimes. Plays when you have two pullers or three pullers in front of you, you have to be more patient," he said. "I haven't had a lot of time over my career being patient. So that's why sometimes, I don't like the fullback in front of me. When I work on myself and try to be more patient, you see what happens last week."
Peterson averaged 7.15 yards per carry in two- or three-back sets last year, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and was at a pedestrian 4.05 yards per carry when he was the only running back in the backfield. This year, he hasn't found the same success running behind a fullback; he's at 4.27 yards per carry in two-back sets, and 5.20 in a one-back set.
But last Sunday, when Peterson established season highs in both carries and yards, he did much of his work behind another running back. He got 21 of his 35 carries with two or more running backs in the backfield, and ran for 139 of his 211 yards -- averaging 6.62 yards a carry with at least one other back.
"Based off last week, I wouldn't say it was difficult," he said. "You've got Jerome [Felton] pulling around, you've got [John] Carlson pulling around, and I'm doing my job, being more patient, allowing those guys to get in front of me. You see how effective it can be in the run game. It worked out well."