The future of Adrian Peterson is not as a running back. Not for the Seattle Seahawks, at least. Rashaad Penny has that job now, as does Chris Carson if his neck injury will allow.
But as a coach?
Not only is it possible, but the first conversation has already happened, per Pete Carroll.
... Carroll added: "There are a lot of things that he can do in the world, he doesn’t have to be a ball coach, but he certainly would have a chance to be a great one.”— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) January 6, 2022
The momentum has stemmed from the completely unexpected arrival of three 100-yard games out of four by Rashaad Penny, replete with five rushing touchdowns and an NFC Player of the Week award.
Adrian Peterson was signed by the Seahawks on December 1st and played against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13.
Rashaad Penny, prior to Week 13:
27 carries, 78 yards, 0 touchdowns.
2.89 Yards per Carry
Penny, after Peterson exited in Week 13:
69 carries, 481 yards, 5 touchdowns.
This is bonkers, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be all credit to Adrian Peterson. You may remember, Doug Baldwin pulled an equally remarkable turnaround in 2015. Through Week 8, Baldwin was averaging under 4 receptions per game, and only had 2 TDs. To finish the second half, Baldwin had three 100+ yard games, including his insane 10 TD over four games stretch.
So it’s possible for players to completely flip a switch, to “find it” so to speak.
However, Baldwin hadn’t displayed ineptitude in his early career, merely irrelevance as a growing receiver.
Penny, though he has hardly been the picture of health for four years, also repeated ran into a brick wall known as the buttock of D.J. Fluker or Germain Ifedi.
What’s clear, is Penny really really really likes Peterson:
Rashaad Penny on Adrian Peterson's presence: "I can't thank him enough. and I'm happy to have him around."— Curtis Crabtree (@Curtis_Crabtree) January 3, 2022
Penny said he hopes Peterson can continue to be around.
Rashaad Penny said he and Adrian Peterson had similar injuries and has helped him learn how to prepare for games.— Alyssa Charlston (@Alyssacharlston) January 3, 2022
Also: "He came in and was a leader right away, that's something we missed in the running back room with Chris (Carson) being gone....can't think him enough."
Chad Morton is the current running backs coach, for those unaware. He’s been with the team since 2014 and has been the lead RB coach since 2017.
In 2015 he was on the Special Teams staff and worked with Tyler Lockett as a returner, who ultimately became a first-team All-Pro. He’s then been coaching the running back for the duration of 7th-round pick and two-time 1,000 yard rusher Chris Carson.
Adrian Peterson will be 37 when the next NFL season rolls around.
One year older than Sean McVay.
He can no longer do anything other than what he just did on the field, which is not going to be much. So while Peterson says he “wants to play,” waiting all year for a team as desperate as the 3-8 Seahawks is potentially not his ideal long-term solution.
However, do not fire Morton for Peterson. I am not sure if that’s what fans are actually asking for, the conversation hasn’t had time to go that far. But if there’s truly a foot-in-the-door assistant job for Peterson, considering what this team has done with guys like DeShawn Shead and the defensive backs, color me intrigued. The single most ridiculed first-round pick in an extraordinarily first-round defunct organization is a public supporter.
Some of the best players in the world make terrible coaches; this is not new information. Certain guys can’t ever find the way to explain what they do. But some of Peterson’s all-time greatest strengths are the things that Penny most needed injected into his brain.
Hear this from a familiar voice around here, Danny Kelly:
He runs with power, balance, great vision, great anticipation, unmatched explosiveness; he’s got the speed to get to the sideline to run upfield and the agility/change-of-direction to avoid tackles and “break some ankles” of defenders.
That’s the three traits Penny has always had (explosiveness, agility, and power to break ankles) combined with the two things he couldn’t sniff (anticipation and vision) for three years.
After all, we said a lot of things about him here:
Rashaad Penny and that fucking stutter step to nowhere.— Mookie Alexander (@mookiealexander) August 25, 2019
But shoot if you fix that and we’re good? Why not give it a whirl.
Let’s go crazy. Give them both prove-it deals with incentives tied to each other. If it works, they both come out well.