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Rams understand Adrian Peterson is older but still a threat

He might have been riding the high from intercepting a pass in the Rams’ victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

And he was no doubt unaware of what was happening across the country in the Arizona Cardinals’ game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

So when Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman was asked whether the addition of running back Adrian Peterson to the Cardinals changed anything as the Rams prepare to play them in London, Robey-Coleman did not parse his words.

“Adrian Peterson is not Adrian Peterson in 2008, 2009,” Robey said in the postgame locker room as a few stunned teammates looked on and listened. “He’s not the same Adrian Peterson, and I think everybody knows that.”

In 2008, Peterson rushed for 1,760 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Minnesota Vikings. In 2009, he had 1,383 yards and 18 touchdowns.

But Peterson, 32, showed Sunday that he still has plenty of ability.

Only a few days after the Cardinals acquired him a trade with the New Orleans Saints, Peterson had 134 yards and two touchdowns in 26 carries in host Arizona’s 38-33 victory.

Peterson appears to have filled the void left after star running back David Johnson suffered a wrist injury in Week 1.

Rams coach Sean McVay said Monday that Peterson is a good fit for coach Bruce Arians’ scheme.

“They’re still doing the same things schematically — they’ve just got a great player in Adrian Peterson who’s doing those,” McVay said during a news conference at the team’s hotel. “So I think you just appreciate that, hey, this is a big-time player.

“But a lot of their core principles, especially specific to the run game that you saw him having success with [Sunday], are a lot of things that David Johnson and those other guys in coach Arians’ system have been doing at a high level as well.”

The Rams are 0-2 in London.

In 2012, they lost 45-7 to the New England Patriots at Wembley Stadium. Last season, they lost 17-10 to the New York Giants at Twickenham Stadium.

This will be the Cardinals first time in London. They were scheduled to leave Phoenix on Monday.

The Rams are staying in Jacksonville until Thursday before departing for London.

He’s managing

McVay acknowledged that he remains a work in progress managing timeouts.

“It starts with me,” he said, “I’ve got to do a better job with that.”

But in the fourth quarter against the Jaguars, McVay showed growth as he orchestrated a five-minute, 12-play drive that forced Jacksonville to use timeouts. The drive ended with a field goal that gave the Rams a two-score margin.

“It’s not just me handling all that,” McVay said. “I’m in constant communication. … That’s what’s nice about those headsets. It’s not just one person dictating everything.”

McVay gave credit to defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and special-teams coordinator John Fassel.

“That would be silly not to be able to utilize the valuable experience and some of the approaches and understanding of ‘we’ve been here before’ that I haven’t had,” he said.

Is Lance Dunbar ready?

McVay said running back Lance Dunbar was healthy and available to start practicing this week, but a determination must still be made about whether that will happen now or after the bye week, which comes after the Rams play the Cardinals.

Dunbar was signed in the offseason to provide a change-of-pace option behind Todd Gurley. He did not participate in offseason workouts or training camp because of a knee issue and was put on the reserve physically-unable-to-perform list.

Players who start the season on the list are not eligible to practice for the first six weeks. After that, the player can practice and the team has 21 days to put them on the active roster.

“There’s a handful of things involved in that discussion, but that’s something that we’ll have to make a decision on here very shortly,” McVay said.


Tight end Derek Carrier, who had been evaluated for a possible concussion, was cleared, McVay said. … The Rams are off Tuesday. They will practice Wednesday and Thursday at a college.

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein

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