Redskins

Redskins

The hype train escalated for Terrelle Pryor as soon as he signed in Washington. Folks looked at his 2016 production - 77 catches for more than 1,000 yards - and immediately saw huge potential paired with Kirk Cousins. 

The hype train barely moved when Chris Thompson signed an offseason extension with the Redskins. Despite a breakout season in 2016 - 700 total yards and five touchdowns - most Redskins fans expected similar production from Thompson in 2017.

Once the season started, however, it was obvious both men were on opposite trajectories. In fact, looked at a bit more carefully, it started to show during training camp.

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While fantasy experts predicted monster stats for Pryor, it became clear he and Cousins were not exactly on the same page. Cousins is a precise passer, wanting to know when and where his targets will break off routes and where he can throw the ball to hit an open man. Pryor, for all of his size and physical prowess, is still learning the receiver position, as he played quarterback almost exclusively in his career. 

Watching practices under the Richmond sun, it was obvious Josh Doctson was the team's best wideout. Still, the praise and hype mounted for Pryor.

By Week 1, expectations far outpaced reality, and on the first offensive play of the year Pryor could not find a deep pass from Cousins. In the moment it was just one play. In hindsight, it was a microcosm of everything that was to come. 

 

When Jay Gruden announced Pryor would go to injured reserve and miss the remainder of the season on Monday, it almost seemed like a fair way for things to end for all parties. Pryor has talent, and maybe in a system less exacting and more volume oriented (like 2016 in Cleveland) he can excel again. It wasn't going to happen in Washington, and as his playing time and targets dwindled, there was no reason for Pryor to play through ankle pain. 

Losing Pryor shouldn't make much of an impact on the final six games of the Redskins season because, well, Pryor didn't make much impact on the first half of the season either.

Losing Thompson is another matter entirely. 

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The five-year veteran was in the middle of a career year, leading all NFL running backs in receiving yards and likely on his way to being named the Redskins Offensive MVP. It's hard to overstate Thompson's value to this team. He is the best runner, receiver and pass blocker the Redskins had at running back, and one of the few game-breaking talents on the field. 

Washington likely needs to run the table, win out their final six, to make the playoffs. Doing that without Terrelle Pryor won't be too difficult.

Doing that without Chris Thompson, that's going to be very difficult. 

The 2017 season will be remembered by many as a year where injuries buried the Redskins chances. Early on, Washington looked like a possible contender. 

Losing Thompson, and Pryor, tell that story, but in very different ways. 

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