Making sense of Adrian Peterson’s declining effectiveness for Detroit Lions

Detroit Free Press

Carlos Monarrez
| Detroit Free Press

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The Detroit Lions‘ 29 rushing yards rushing against the Colts was their worst rushing performance of the season. But one of the concerns in the run game was the performance of Adrian Peterson, whose effectiveness has steadily declined.

Peterson had five carries for 7 yards and a 1.4-yard average per carry. His yards-per-carry average has dropped in each game after a high of 6.64 in the opener, when he rushed 14 times for 93 yards.

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Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell wouldn’t say whether Peterson might be used less and pointed to the offense’s overall struggles against the Colts.

“Well, we don’t just go straight off the stats,” Bevell said in a conference call. “I mean, we look at the film. Obviously, this last week was not a good day for us offensively in really any facet of the game. We didn’t run the ball very well. We didn’t protect the quarterback very well. So we have to evaluate just different than looking at what the yards per carry, or whatever comes up. We’re looking at how we’re using them.”

Peterson has started the past five games, but he ha’s seen a decrease in playing time, while rookie D’Andre Swift has seen an increase. Bevell seems committed to the rotation that includes Kerryon Johnson but said the situation each player is put in factors into his evaluation.

“It’s important for us to make sure that we’re using our guys the right way, but you can’t necessarily always just base it off what the stats look like,” he said. “We’ve got to look at how’s the play designed, what are we asking that player to do, is he capable of doing that? Are we giving him a chance to even do what he’s capable of doing by how we’re protecting him, how we’re blocking the play and those type of things?

“(Peterson has) had some of those opportunities that he’s had where he hasn’t had a well-enough blocked play or we haven’t done exactly what we need to do to help him. In fairness to your question, we’re still evaluating every single day. Every day we go out there, every day in practice, we’re trying to put the best guys out there and trying to give them the best opportunities to make plays with the design of the plays and we’ll continue to do that.”

Contact Carlos Monarrez: Follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

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