NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Newly hired running back Adrian Peterson focused intently on Tennessee Titans running back Tony Dews as he prepared to take on his reputation during a blocking drill in his first padded practice. Dews held up a pad and stepped to the line of scrimmage to simulate a lightning linebacker as Peterson tried to pick him up in pass protection.
“Don’t jump in,” Dews yelled at Peterson.
The 14-year veteran and future Hall of Famer nodded before quickly returning to his position to land another representative. This time, Peterson ran toward Dews so fast that he stood on tiptoe when he hit the blocking bag.
The energy and effort Peterson has shown in some practices has impressed his new teammates. That’s especially the case for a player with Peterson’s résumé. It’s something Peterson wanted to make sure he brought when he joined the Titans.
“Great energy,” Peterson said. “I felt it from the moment I got here. This team has been competing well. I was watching Sunday’s game and you see a bunch of guys doing whatever it takes to win games.”
Peterson said he attacked practice to make up for time he hasn’t been on the field. Titans coaches had three defensive players from the practice team hit him during drills Thursday.
“He’s bringing juice,” wide receiver Chester Rogers said. “He’s been out for about 10 months. You can see he’s really looking forward to being there. Even on the road, he’s been going full throttle, 100 miles per hour. We’re excited to lock in for him, watch him work, watch him do it. his. Man, he’s a Hall of Famer, you know he’s got something left in his tank. “
The loss of star running back Derrick Henry was a serious blow to the Titans in many ways. Henry’s effect on his teammates is something that is not measured in yards. Just look at the Titans sideline when Henry interrupts one of his iconic careers. The whole team fills up with energy. The Titans will miss that about Henry.
Part of Tennessee’s plan to make up for Henry’s loss was to bring in Peterson, a player who once provided the same impressive combination of size, speed and power.
At 36, Peterson is no longer the same home run he used to hit back. Stylistically, Peterson fits the Titans because he still brings a level of physique that has become a trademark for Tennessee since Mike Vrabel and his staff took over in 2018.
The Titans will likely employ a committee approach for their running back group. That means Peterson will share carries with newly hired D’Onta Foreman and Jeremy McNichols, who is also used in the passing game.
Although he may not get the same volume of carries as before, Peterson still feels he can make a difference on the football field.
“I’m in a good place,” Peterson said. “I feel like God has gifted me with incredible talent. I’m the type of person that, even when I’m at home, I dive into the corner. I’m practicing at all times.”
Having a future Hall of Famer in the building and on the practice field is already impacting the Titans.
“I grew up watching and idolizing him,” wide receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine said. “I remember every time he was interviewed or asked about his nickname: AD, All Day. I remember saying that to myself. He’s a great presence; it makes me want to elevate my game and show him that I’m a great player.” , too. I’m sure other guys on the team feel the same way. “