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Play of the day: Redskins RB Thompson shows off his speed

Play of the day: Redskins RB Thompson shows off his speed

RICHMOND—It was a running play to the far side of where the media watches practice. Chris Thompson got the ball and then disappeared into a mass of bodies pursuing him as he ran to the right. All of a sudden he popped out of the crowd as he turned on the jets and burst past the defense for a nice gain. The play drew a few ooh’s and aah’s from the crowd. Speed always impresses.

And with the Redskins still in search of a backup to Matt Jones it makes you wonder if the Redskins are going to look to Thompson to handle those duties. Last year he had only 23 rushing attempts but three of them went for 26 yards or longer. Thompson could add some pop to the offense after the 6-2, 232-lb. Jones wears down the defense for a while.

He got only 23 carries last year in part because of the presence of Alfred Morris, who led the team in rushing attempts with 202. Now Morris is gone and the team has not signed or drafted anyone to take his place.

Sometimes Thompson seems to be very willing to take on a bigger role.

“We don't have Alfred here so that could mean more opportunities in the run game for me and be more involved in the game plan this year,” said Thompson. “Whatever the coaches have for me I just want to be prepared, to be ready.”

But later in the same interview session with reporters, Thompson indicated that although his role could get bigger he seems to be content as the third-down back.

“You know every guy always dreams of being the starter but for me, since I've been here, I've understood what my role is,” he said. “Even though I'm labeled as a third-down back my role still can continue to expand. I could possibly be that No. 2 to Matt if he gets tired I can be the one that's spelling him here and there.”

That doesn't sound like he's going to be going into Jay Gruden's office and saying, "Give me the damn ball" anytime soon.

There is legitimate concern that Thompson won’t hold up if his load is increased to around eight to 10 carries per game. Injuries plagued his career at Florida State and he missed most of his rookie season after a shoulder injury. A back bruise and another shoulder injury cost him three games last year. Thompson said he has a high tolerance for pain and there’s not reason to doubt that but the laws of physics say that a 5-8, 195-lb. running back isn’t going to be able to take much of a consistent pounding.

But his speed will always draw the attention of the coaches so he needs to be prepared to play a bigger role. He won’t carry 150 times this year but he could well get 75 to 100, especially if he can burst around the corner against other teams like he did in practice on Tuesday.

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Redskins Week 15 injury report: Two out, seven questionable vs. Cardinals

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins Week 15 injury report: Two out, seven questionable vs. Cardinals

Redskins linebacker Zach Brown may want to power through his myriad of injuries but he won’t be able to do it this week.

Brown is one of two Redskins who have been declared out for the game against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden listed his injuries as toe/ankle/Achilles/hip. This will be the first game that Brown has missed with the Redskins and his first since he was with the Titans in 2014.

Also out is safety Montae Nicholson, who will miss his fourth straight game with a concussion.

MORE REDSKINS: IS GALETTE ON HIS WAY OUT?

Listed as questionable are OT Morgan Moses (ankle), OT Trent Williams (knee), OLB Ryan Anderson (ankle), WR Ryan Grant (ankle), WR Maurice Harris (concussion), DE Terrell McClain (toe), and C Chase Roullier (hand).

Williams’ status for Sunday is very much in doubt. His usual pattern since sustaining a knee injury in Week 4 has been to sit out the first two days of practice and then participate in the third. However, he was not on the field on Friday during the portion of practice that was open to the media. Jay Gruden said that he did join the team at some point but he didn’t indicate that he took part in any football activity.

He has missed three games and it would not be surprising if he missed a fourth on Sunday. If Williams can’t go, Ty Nsekhe will start at left tackle.

RELATED: REED LIKELY TO STAY IN 2018

Roullier has been out the last three games with a broken right (snapping) hand. He has had the cast off of it for a couple of weeks now and he could be ready to go on Sunday.

Harris was out of the game against the Chargers last Sunday with a concussion. He has been practicing on a limited basis all week. The chances that he can pass the concussion protocol seem good, although with concussions it is always difficult to know for sure.

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

  

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Why ailing Zach Brown has plenty of incentive to keep playing

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Why ailing Zach Brown has plenty of incentive to keep playing

Redskins linebacker Zach Brown missed practice for a second straight day on Thursday, putting doubt into his availability for the game against the Cardinals.

Brown is leading the league in combined tackles and, probably, in injuries.

The team’s injury report says that he is dealing with four of them—toe, Achilles, and ankle with an illness piled on top of those.

“They’re hindering him quite a bit,” Jay Gruden said of Brown’s laundry list of ailments.

“Sickness is starting to clear up a little bit but he’s still a little sore. We’ll see if he makes any progress tomorrow. It’d have to be pretty significant, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

MORE REDSKINS: IS GALETTE ON HIS WAY OUT?

The illness might clear up but the other injuries are unlikely to go away until a few weeks into the offseason. He is getting treatments that include massage, laser, and acupuncture but rest is the only thing that will get rid of the problems.

Some have wondered why Brown persists with multiple injuries and the team now mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. For one thing, playing is what he does.

“I like to play the game,” said Brown last week.

RELATED: WEEK 15 POWER RANKINGS

“I like to play the game with passion and I hate to lose. I try my best to help people do better, just trying to help some of the young guys. At the end of the day, you rest when the season’s over.”

There are financial considerations as well, on a couple of different fronts. Brown will be a free agent in 2018 and he is risking further injury that could lower his value on the market. He says that does not factor into is thinking.

“Last two years I was on the free agent market, it’s the way I play,” he said. “If that was the case I would have just shut it down already.”

There are other, more immediate financial considerations as well. Brown has per-game roster bonuses of $15,625 that are paid if he is on the list of 46 active players. And he has incentive bonuses of up to $2.3 million according to Over the Cap. It’s safe to say that at least some of those bonuses will be attainable only if Brown is able to play effectively in all or nearly all of the scheduled 16 games.

RELATED: REED LIKELY TO STAY IN 2018

Brown hasn’t spoken about the incentive bonus money being important and, given his answer to the free agency question, he probably wouldn’t. But this is not a player who has made a ton of money in his career. According to Spotrac, if he hits on his roster bonuses and on his likely to be earned incentives this year he will have about $7.7 million in career earnings. That’s a good chunk of money but once you take away taxes, a cut to his agent and other various and sundry expenses it’s not “set for life” money. It’s likely that his bank account would notice whatever he can collect in incentives.

Gruden has said that Brown is a player who could go on Sunday even with only one practice under his belt. We will know a lot more about his status this afternoon when his practice status for Friday and his game status for Sunday will be announced on the injury report.