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Chris Thompson in tears when talking about Jay Gruden's future

Chris Thompson in tears when talking about Jay Gruden's future

FEDEX FIELD -- Since the days leading up to the Redskins falling handily to the New England Patriots on Sunday -- Washington's fifth loss in a row -- the job security of head coach Jay Gruden has been in question.

Following the 33-7 loss to New England, Redskins running back Chris Thompson was asked about Gruden's future in Washington. The running back's emotions quickly came out.

Thompson fought back tears as he described his relationship with the sixth-year head coach.

"I feel like he was one of the guys that really believed in me, and wanted me to stay here and be with him through his whole legacy here as a coach," Thompson said. 

Thompson was drafted by Washington in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, a year before Gruden took over as the Redskins head coach. Thompson was initially cut by the Redskins on roster cutdown day in 2014, but was added to the team's practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster in December of 2014 and never looked back.

"Going through that practice squad year, it was real tough for me," Thompson continued. "It's tough, man."

Over the past five seasons with Gruden at the helm, Thompson has established himself as one of the best pass-catching running backs around the league.

Thompson has spent his entire career with the Burgundy and Gold and continues to have a vital role in the team's offense.

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Cousin of Redskins cornerback Greg Stroman fatally shot in Richmond

Cousin of Redskins cornerback Greg Stroman fatally shot in Richmond

The cousin of Redskins cornerback Greg Stroman was fatally shot and found dead in a hotel hallway early Tuesday morning, the Richmond police announced on Wednesday.

Jermaine Stroman, 30, was found by officers in a third-floor hallway of the Quality Inn and Rodeway Inn and was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Richmond Police Department has yet to find any information on the suspect, which led the Redskins cornerback to send out this tweet to raise awareness about the situation:

"My cousin, Jermaine Rayshard Stroman, was killed last night in Richmond, VA," Greg Stroman wrote on Wednesday. "Anyone that has information in regards to his murder, please contact the proper authorities at 804-780-1000."

Jermaine Stroman's death was unrelated to the nationwide protests, according to the Washington Post. Protests have been going on for several days and in all 50 states following the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd on May 25.

The cornerback was originally a seventh-round draft pick of the Redskins in 2018. The former Virginia Tech Hokie played in 15 games as a rookie, finishing with 38 tackles and one interception. Stroman was waived with the designation of injured in September of 2019 after suffering a groin injury in the team's season opener. He cleared waivers and spent the rest of the 2019 season on the Redskins' Injured Reserve list.

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How these 'unusual times' may affect newer Redskins players like Dwayne Haskins and Chase Young

How these 'unusual times' may affect newer Redskins players like Dwayne Haskins and Chase Young

For a growing quarterback still getting used to the NFL, a coaching change isn't just a speed bump on the road; instead, it's more like a complete alteration to the route.

That's what Dwayne Haskins is experiencing right now as the Redskins transition to Ron Rivera (who'll actually be Haskins' third head coach, in addition to Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan). Combine that with an offense that some believe puts Haskins in the worst situation in the league, and there are two glaring reasons to be on edge about the passer's future success.

Then, of course, there's how COVID-19 has affected these past few months for everyone in the sport. For Haskins in particular, he's missed out on a handful of offseason sessions and valuable time in the building with the new staff, as well as time with teammates to demonstrate the leadership he's trying to establish.

This pandemic and its consequences are actually what worries ESPN's Kimberley Martin most when it comes to Haskins and his performance, an opinion she shared during the newest episode of the Redskins Talk podcast.

"I think Rivera and company, they have to invest in Dwayne and make 2020 about him, because he's again starting behind the eight ball," the national reporter said. "He just hasn't had any real time to develop. And this whole offseason is a wash. I know guys are working, I know they're working. But it's just so different right now."

As Martin points out, while pros like Haskins have come up with solutions by finding fields and getting together on those fields with their peers — and, to Haskins' credit, he's been doing that kind of thing often — that's still just a fraction of how much learning and practicing would normally take place in a given spring and summer.

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In the end, she fears how much of an impact the drastic schedule changes could have on the former first-rounder specifically.

"I think this is a critical year for him, but I think he'll be judged unfairly because this situation just is not favorable," she told Redskins Talk.

But he's not the only one Martin is keeping an eye on.

"All these rookies, all these young players, everything's going to be sped up this offseason," she said. "Everybody, from Chase [Young], like all the new pieces, there are going to be some growing pains, and I think fans are going to have to understand that. These are unusual times that we're in."

As wildly talented as Young is, for example, he's still going to have to adjust to beating NFL offensive tackles instead of opponents from Illinois and Purdue. And he's already lost a lot of chances to start that process.

As fun as it is to imagine what Antonio Gibson can do, meanwhile, he's still facing a steep learning curve, and one that may include snaps at multiple positions. And he, too, has already lost a lot of chances to start that process.

Projecting what a rookie class and other up-and-comers will be able to do in their new roles is one of the more interesting parts of covering and caring about football. However, those are the players who are the most unpredictable, and that unpredictability will be even more of a factor in 2020.

Yes, if Haskins starts out with a few lackluster efforts or Young doesn't register a sack in the opening weeks, fretting will occur among Redskins supporters, because Redskins supporters are always fretting because they care so much.

Some perspective also needs to come with that fretting, though, because these inexperienced members of the Burgundy and Gold will be gaining much of their experience in the second quarter on a Sunday as opposed to the Ashburn practice bubble in June. That's not ideal, but it's going to be the reality, at least for this season.

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