When the Washington Redskins return to action against the New York Jets on Nov. 17, they'll do so with another young playmaker on the offensive side of the ball.
The Redskins announced Thursday that they've activated running back Derrius Guice off Injured Reserve. Guice, who missed nearly two months with a knee injury, is eligible to play Week 11 versus the Jets at FedExField.
Guice suffered the injury in the regular season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles and was subsequently placed on IR, meaning he had to miss the next eight games, according to NFL policy. However, Guice was allowed to return to practice before that, and after several weeks he was healthy enough to do so. Guice was back on the practice fields Oct. 28 and has been participating in team workouts since.
"It was good to get him on the practice field," interim head coach Bill Callahan told reporters after practice Oct. 28. "He's worked hard to get back, and his workload was a good amount today but not too much because we're still monitoring his conditioning level as he works back into football. So, it was great to see him work at the level that he did today."
A second-round pick in 2018, Guice was on track to shoulder the rushing load as a rookie before a torn ACL in the preseason opener robbed him of his first NFL campaign. Then came the torn meniscus in Week 1 of the 2019 season, forcing Guice to once again miss significant time.
When healthy, the Redskins envision Guice as their lead back. It was only when Guice went down last year that the team signed Adrian Peterson, who ended up becoming the oldest 1,000-yard rusher in more than three decades.
Despite that success, Peterson immediately took a backseat to Guice when Guice returned to action during training camp this July. Guice topped the depth chart all preseason and started the regular season opener in Philadelphia, while Peterson was a healthy scratch for the first time in his 13-year career.
"My vision for [Guice] -- he's absolutely involved." said offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell before the season opener. "We want to get him touches in the confines of how we want to run our offense and run the football."
Peterson has flourished in Guice's absence, especially since Callahan took over as interim head coach Oct. 7. Peterson has rushed the ball 75 times for 383 yards over the past four games, good for an average of 5.1 yards per carry.
Guice's return will complicate the running back situation in Washington, but there's surely enough carries to go around under the run-happy Callahan. And even if Peterson retains a larger role, the Redskins will attempt to get Guice involved in whatever way they can.
"I’m really happy for him because he’s really had a long, hard trail to get back," Callahan said. "He’s put the time and effort in to get better.”