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Jay Gruden always believed in Chris Thompson, and Thompson hasn't forgotten

Jay Gruden always believed in Chris Thompson, and Thompson hasn't forgotten

For a player who does much of his damage on the field with his speed, Chris Thompson's career started out slowly.

After the Redskins selected Thompson in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Florida State running back saw his first NFL season end on injured reserve and spent most of his second on the practice squad. But it was during that second season, the first of Jay Gruden's tenure in Washington, that the head coach advised Thompson to stay patient and get through the frustration he was feeling.

"Coach Gruden told me three years ago when he came in that he had a plan for me," the now fifth-year veteran said Wednesday after an OTA session in Ashburn. "He had that talk with me as soon as he got here and he just told me he was gonna stick with me and I was his guy and he trusted in me and my ability."

RELATED: Jay Gruden sees something in Chris Thompson

Whenever a new coach comes in, it's often expected that they'll trim the roster of free agents they didn't sign and draft picks they didn't ask for in order to "get their guys." But Thompson's comments show that Gruden had no interest in dropping him after taking over, even though Thompson was drafted before Gruden and had yet to show that he was big enough or good enough to succeed as a pro.


When asked why he not only didn't look to get rid of Thompson, but also went as far as to promise that he would find a role for him on the Redskins eventually, Gruden started with the Florida native's character.

"First of all, he's a great human," the coach said Wednesday. "He's a joy to be around, he's worked extremely hard, he cares about the details."

The above quote is only a sliver of what Gruden had to say about his third-down back, as the full answer he gave about Thompson was the longest from his time behind the podium. It seems that he not only likes the way No. 25 has carried himself in the Burgundy and Gold, but also covets the way he fills a spot that the offensive-minded coach cares a lot about.

"To be in the position he is in, a third-down back, it’s a very important position," Gruden said. "These guys are very valuable to your team because it keeps drives alive and big plays are because of them. I mean, you can double team Jordan Reed, you can double team the receivers, but that back gets a lot of one-on-one matchups... I saw the value early on in him."

Hearing coaches and players compliment one another is an everyday occurrence around the league, especially in May, when there's only so many things that can be asked and every franchise is 0-0. But it feels like there's more than just your usual level of respect between Gruden and Thompson. Much more, in fact.

The former waited for the latter to develop when there wasn't much reason to, and the latter is making the former look good for doing so. And while Thompson still isn't exactly sure why Gruden was patient with him, he's very thankful that he was.

"When he first came in, I was still just trying to learn the ins-and-outs of our offense and working on being a good route runner and everything, but he saw it in me," Thompson said. "Coach Gruden saw something and I'm just really appreciative of that."


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Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' defensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

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Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' defensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 20, 37 days before the NFL draft.  

Looking at the 2018 depth chart—defense

The Redskins are likely to make a few more free agent acquisitions and there is the draft, but the depth chart is beginning to settle in. Let’s take a look at where the defensive side of the ball stands now. The offense was covered yesterday.

Defensive line: Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee
Backups: Terrell McClain, Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood

I wrote this on Monday afternoon wondering if I would have to edit it to add Jonathan Hankins but that has not happened yet. I have to think that they will use a top draft pick on a D-lineman if they don’t land one in free agency. That could create some competition between Hood and McClain for the last roster spot.

Linebackers: OLBs Preston Smith, Ryan Kerrigan; ILBs Mason Foster, Zach Brown
Backups: Ryan Anderson, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Martrell Spaight

Again, I thought I might have to edit this because of the return of Junior Galette or the addition of Pernell McPhee but as it is, the Redskins are looking for an additional reserve edge rusher to go with Anderson. There might only be room for two backup inside linebackers between Vigil, Harvey-Clemons, and Spaight.

Defensive backs: CBs Quinton Dunbar, Josh Norman; FS Montae Nicholson, SS D.J. Swearinger
Backups: Orlando Scandrick, Fabian Moreau, Josh Holsey, Deshazor Everett

I debated including Su’a Cravens here because he is on the roster, but I think that the odds that he will be on the 53-man roster in September are slim. If he doesn’t return they will need some help at safety. You can count on Scandrick playing in the slot. They seem to like both Dunbar and Moreau better on the outside and Scandrick can give Holsey a chance to develop inside.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 28
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 130
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 174

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

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Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign CB Orlando Scandrick

The Redskins seem to love former Cowboys. They signed another one today.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media is reporting that Washington has agreed to terms with cornerback Orlando Scandrick. The early numbers put the contract at up to $10 million over two years.

Scandrick, 31, has played for the Cowboys since they made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. In nine seasons in the league, Scandrick has eight interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

He has been plagued by injuries the last three years. Scandrick was out for the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. In 2016 he missed four games with a hamstring injury and he finished last season on injured reserve with a back injury. Whether his struggles last year were due to injuries or age remains to be seen.

Scandrick joins Nosh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, and Josh Holsey at cornerback for the Redskins. Holsey is the only natural slot corner in the group and he played very sparingly as a rookie last year. Scandrick likely will fill the slot role until Holsey is ready.

We will see what the signing costs in terms of salary cap impact when we see the details of the contract. The phrase “up to” generally means that there are incentives included in the deal so we will have to see.

In recent years, the Redskins have signed former Cowboys defensive linemen Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher, and Terrell McClain.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.