"Being a running back, it's definitely frustrating," he said of getting no carries. "Like I say all the time, I'm willing to do what it takes to win the game. If that's catching 20 passes a game, then I'll do that. I'm pretty sure I'll be getting some carries this year."
Yeah, we're pretty sure of that, too, as long as he stays healthy in the preseason, which probably had something to do with the team's strategy to throw the ball on the first 11 offensive plays.
That has left Peterson with this goal for the preseason: "Just really going out and working on my overall game, whether it's pass protection, running my routes. Just really rehearse everything right now," he said.
As head coach Brad Childress said, he knows what the running game can do from last year and he wants to find out about the passing game this year. Part of that is seeing how much Peterson has improved in his pass protection.
"That's something I did last year, too, picking up blitzes and things like that. That's part of the game. If you can't block, you will not play and I definitely played last year," Peterson said. "It's about the little things, the little things I can do better. Pass protecting, catching the ball on the perimeter, I can do better at that. Running the ball, I feel I can do better at that, so just working on my overall game to give my team the best player from me when I step out on that field."
What they got last year from Peterson was pretty good, but he admitted to some nerves coming into training camp as a rookie. This year is a different story.
"To come in as a rookie, I had the jitters a little bit. I didn't know my teammates and my coaches that well, but having a year under my belt to go through different adversities to know more about my coaches and players, it's like I'm part of the family now. I was definitely more relaxed this year," he said.
If a relaxed Peterson means even more production, bigger goals could be within reach.
DIFFERENT KIND OF CONFIDENCE
Tarvaris Jackson is another player that seems more comfortable this year. He seems to have a better command of the offense and has said he is able to focus on the defense now and what they are doing.
Wide receiver Bobby Wade said the biggest difference between Jackson last year and this year is the kind of confidence he is displaying.
"He's seen a lot of things. He had confidence last year just in his ability to play, but to actually be able to compete with the confidence, he was kind of lacking in that with the lack of game experience," Wade said. "After playing last year, he's good. He's coming out here looking to compete. When he makes a bad play, he doesn't get so down about it. He understands that he needs to come back and make a play on another down."
But if Jackson is more aggressive this preseason, there may be a reason for it – that was apparently the directive from Childress during training camp.
"We ask him to be aggressive out here in the pass skeleton periods to kind of push the envelope, if you will. We don't want him to be stupid with the football, but we want to know what they can and can't do, what they can get away with, what a receiver can do when you heat him up or try to throw it in close quarters. So we ask him to be aggressive," Childress said. "We don't want him to be dainty with it. I know that that's a balance, but if you're cautious or tentative, that's not the way to play the game. You kind of get a feel for yourself and what your faculties are. You get a feel for the other people that you're playing with and what they can do when you move the football around to them. You want them to be aggressive as hell. Like I said, there's a balance between that. You can't play the game on your heels."
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