The Jaguars' defense will be tasked with slowing down reemerging Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson in Week 12.
After a forgettable early-season stretch with the New Orleans Saints, Peterson was traded to the Cardinals on October 10. Since heading to the desert, Peterson has produced 369 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in just five games.
He has been hard to slow down, especially when the Cardinals have taken the lead.
The veteran is viewed by Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone as a future Hall of Fame inductee. Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson looks at Peterson as an "exciting challenge."
"I would truly say that's one of the hardest running backs I've had to tackle in my career," Gipson said Tuesday.
"I've played against some of the best - the Le'Veon Bells of the world and some really great running backs - he's definitely up there as one of the more tougher guys to tackle because he's big and physical and he has power behind his pads. He is one of the guys - you see some guys that are big like [Peterson] that don't run behind their pads - he runs behind his pads really well so he's a tough tackle. Like you said, he's still got burst and speed, he still looks like he is 28 years old to me."
Gipson faced off against Peterson in 2013. The Cleveland Browns took a trip to Minnesota to play the Vikings.
Peterson ran for 88 rushing yards and a touchdown on 25 carries against Gipson and the Browns. The defensive back remembers just how good Peterson was back then. The running back clearly still has some gas left in that same tank.
"I remember playing in the middle of the field and that was the most nerve-wrecking game I ever played," Gipson said.
"On top of it being Adrian Peterson, I just remember him running with so much anger. I remember telling my corners, 'I'm cheating up to 10 yards because I don't want to hit this guy with a head full of steam.' I've been a fan of his game ever since he came into the league."
The Browns actually beat the Vikings when Gipson and Peterson faced off. The safety is now looking for similar results as the Jaguars head to Arizona this weekend.
Smoot plays in front of hometown crowd
Rookie defensive end Dawuane Smoot came very close to producing his first career sack in front of his family and friends at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday.
Smoot nearly wrapped up Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer for a loss but the fellow rookie was able to toss the ball away in time to avoid the takedown. Despite missing out on that accomplishment, Smoot said the game near his hometown of Groveport, Ohio was special.
"I feel like it was a dream come true," Smoot said Tuesday. "Actually, my first NFL game - actually watching an NFL game - was there. Just playing on [the field] was just kind of like a dream. It was surreal."
Smoot said his first NFL game as a spectator took place while he was still in high school. His dad surprised him with tickets to the game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Browns. The rookie said the game was a blowout in the Bengals' favor. He didn't grow up a fan of either team.
Smoot has now played in 10 games and the novelty of being in the NFL hasn't rubbed off. The rookie is starting to get comfortable but will continue to aspire to get better.
"I feel like I've been getting better and better every week," Smoot said. "Figuring out the speed, figuring out the tempo and figuring out where to play my hands. I feel like I'm figuring it out week-to-week."
Smoot is still looking to put a sack on his stat sheet. He is talking to his older teammates and taking their advice in order to improve. He believes the sacks will come in time.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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