By the time the Redskins board their flight to Chicago on Saturday, Pierre Thomas will have gone through a practice, a walkthrough and a handful of meetings with his new team.
And that could prove to be enough to convince the coaching staff to give the veteran some snaps Sunday against his hometown Bears.
“He looked good,” offensive coordinator Sean McVay said of Thomas’ first practice with the team on Friday. “He did a good job picking up a couple of little things we did with him. And we’re looking forward to seeing if he’s going to be ready to go on Sunday.”
Thomas played for New Orleans from 2007-14 and one game for San Francisco last month. The pass-catching running back said he was surprised to get a call in Week 14, but he's sure glad that he did.
“I’m in shape, so really it’s getting a handle on this playbook,” Thomas said at Redskins Park. “It’s different verbiage. Some of the same concepts that I’ve throughout my years, it’s just the verbiage is totally different. That’s one thing I have to get a grasp on. And I’m grasping it very quickly.”
The Redskins reached out to Thomas earlier this week when an MRI revealed that Chris Thompson had a torn labrum in his shoulder. Thompson, the team’s primary pass-catching threat out of the backfield, will not play at Soldier Field.
Which, of course, opens the door for Thomas, who turns 31 next week, to make his Redskins’ debut, not far from where he grew up.
“Pierre is an established third-down back in this league and a very good pass protector and good out of the backfield,” Coach Jay Gruden said.
Like McVay, Gruden also hinted that Thomas could see some playing time Sunday.
“Oh yeah,” Gruden said. “We’ll see, though. We haven’t made that decision [about] who our 46 men are going to be yet. A lot depends on the defensive line—who’s [active]—and [tight end Derek] Carrier.”
McVay said he’s less concerned about Thomas’ conditioning and more interested in his comfort level with the offense.
“I think it’s be more a question of getting [him] familiar with some of the things that we’ll ask him to do, assignments-wise, which he showed he’s capable of picking it up very quickly," McVay said. "If that’s the case, then he’ll be ready to roll.”
Thomas said intends to be prepared for whatever the staff decides.
“I’m keeping my fingers crossed [but] I have no idea” Thomas said, asked if he expects to suit up. “But I’ll be ready.”