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Jay Gruden explains Adrian Peterson's healthy scratch

Future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson was a healthy scratch on Sunday afternoon for the first time in his career.

The Washington Redskins went into the season opener with Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson and Wendell Smallwood instead. The former two backs combined for 28 rushing yards and 88 receiving yards on 23 total touches in D.C.'s 32-27 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I don't think I've kind of grasped it yet," Peterson said of sitting, per The Washington Post. "It's my first time ever being inactive, a healthy scratch. It was tough, of course. I'm a super competitior. I've been thinking about playing these guys since last year since the season ended and they broke us off. 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."

Asked why he decided to sit the four-time All Pro back against Philly, Redskins coach Jay Gruden cited the need for help on special teams.

"On game day, we're punting to Darren Sproles about five or six times. We need as many guys that can cover," Gruden explained, per ESPN. "We had to get the linebacker up for special teams, and obviously Smallwood. So it had to be done.

"If I can have the luxury of dressing four running backs or three, some other time if I have enough special team guys, I'll do that."

Peterson played all 16 games for the 'Skins last season, carrying the ball 251 times for 1,042 yards and seven scores. But that was before Guice returned from his season-ending knee injury.

Peterson was re-signed by Washington to a two-year deal in March. Since then, Guice has made a full recovery and a case to be the 'Skins' starting tailback. Gruden said earlier this week Washington's offense would run through Guice, and on Sunday afternoon, he explained what that means for Peterson.

"He's a first- and second-down back. So is Derrius," Gruden said, per The Washington Post. "So, really, what do we have? About 20 first downs a game. Probably eight of those are passes, 12 of those might be runs, and Derrius can handle those 12 ...

"So if we have a game where we think we can run the ball 55 times in a game in an I-formation, then sure, I'll get him up."

That last scenario seems unlikely for any team in the 21st century, so it remains to be seen when Peterson will see the field for D.C.

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