Source: Redskins may start Adrian Peterson despite return of Derrius Guice

The Washington Redskins activated running back Derrius Guice off the injured reserve list, but that doesn't mean Adrian Peterson's days of starting have ended.

The Redskins announced Guice's return Thursday morning. He was placed on IR after tearing the meniscus in his left knee in the season opener. Interim coach Bill Callahan said last week that Guice would be returning after this week's bye for the Nov. 17 game vs. the New York Jets.

However, a source expects Peterson to continue to start, a move that runs counter to what the Redskins did in the season opener when both were available.

In that game, the Redskins started Guice and deactivated Peterson, which angered some veteran offensive linemen -- notably right tackle Morgan Moses. Other players said privately they were surprised but that they understood the move because Peterson wouldn't have had a big role in the game. Then-Redskins coach Jay Gruden said they kept only three backs active -- including Chris Thompson for third downs and Wendell Smallwood for special teams.

The Redskins have kept four backs active in each of the past three games, including fullback Michael Burton.

With Thompson still nursing turf toe that has sidelined him the past three games, Peterson and Guice would both be active. Guice's ability to catch the ball and help in protection would enable him to still serve a role. The Redskins have been excited about the 2018 second-round pick's potential -- both as a runner and as a pass-catcher -- even after missing his rookie year with a torn ACL.

Guice has played only two games with Washington -- a preseason contest in 2018 and this season's opener -- and he hurt a knee in both games. Easing him back into the lineup while relying on Peterson would make sense.

Under Callahan, Peterson has become the identity of the Redskins' offense. In four games since Callahan took over, Peterson has rushed for 383 yards on 75 carries -- averaging 5.11 yards, third most in the NFL during that span. In those games, he leads the NFL with eight runs of 15 yards or more, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

However, Peterson has not scored a touchdown during this time, and Washington has gone 13 quarters without reaching the end zone.

The Redskins have long liked Guice's explosiveness, which could complement Peterson. The Redskins did use Smallwood and Peterson together on two snaps last week in a loss to Buffalo.

Callahan said last week that they would address the running backs' respective roles when the "time is appropriate."

"When the game plan is put in and who we're playing, how we're going to attack that particular defense and how we're going to divide the repetitions and rotations and things of that nature," Callahan said. "Way too early to decide on reps and counts they'll have for that particular game."

If Peterson indeed continues to start, it could help him achieve a $500,000 incentive for surpassing 1,000 yards. He has 491 yards with seven games remaining.

Peterson also has been a leader in the locker room and has been among the players trying to help rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins with advice and encouragement. Callahan wants Haskins to show more of a veteran's demeanor, during the week and after games.

"When you're a young player, how that comes across expressively may be different than an eight-year, nine-year vet like Adrian Peterson," Callahan said last week. "He fumbled the ball [against the 49ers] and he stood tall, square-jawed and locked his eyes up to the media and said, 'Hey, it was my responsibility.'

"What better advice can you get from guys like Adrian Peterson, Morgan Moses and just a roomful of great guys that are just really trying to help a teammate. It's a tough dynamic when you're thrust into the limelight in a tough situation. A lot of those guys have gone through that as rookies themselves, so they've got a lot of empathy of what you go through."