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You're going to love Chris Thompson's story about the time he first met Adrian Peterson

You're going to love Chris Thompson's story about the time he first met Adrian Peterson

Chris Thompson is an accomplished player in the NFL. Despite being a fifth round pick, Thompson has made it to a second contract, something more than half of the league never does. 

In six seasons with the Redskins, Thompson has nearly 2,500 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns. At times, he's been among the best third down backs in the NFL. 

This is a long way of establishing that Chris Thompson is an accomplised football player. Redskins fans know that.

Adrian Peterson didn't. 

Not many people would share that story, so good for Thompson for doing it. Let's add that Peterson joined the Redskins after offseason workouts and training camp, the normal time for new players to get to know each other. Peterson signed up with the Redskins in the middle of August, well after the regular get-to-know-you period had closed. 

Still, that's a tough break for Thompson. 

Peterson is a legend in the NFL, one of the best running backs to ever play the game. When he joined the Redskins, a number of players watched him work in practice with the hint of awe in their eyes. He proved to be a great teammate and a strong presence in the locker room.

By the end of the year, Peterson was obviously a leader for the Redskins. Players looked up to him, even if he didn't know their name when the year started.


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Redskins OC Scott Turner and his QBs making the best of their virtual offseason

Redskins OC Scott Turner and his QBs making the best of their virtual offseason

Sitting and waiting to play with your new toy is no fun. 

That essentially is what it’s like for Redskins offensive coordinator, Scott Turner. The coronavirus lockdown has the newly name OC forced to meet with his players virtually.

In a pandemic-free world, with a new head coach named, the Redskins would have had a two-week jump start on the rest of the league to meet players and install their system. Turner says despite not seeing his players on the field, they are making use of the time given to them. 

“We’re putting a lot of work in, obviously abiding by the rules the NFL has set forth — four days a week, two hours a day,” Turner said. 
Same as all the others. The Redskins QB’s choose to start at 1pm each day. The reason? Alex Smith is in Hawaii. No one seems to complain – and if anything, the others wish that they, too, were in paradise for workouts.

As for putting his new offensive system in place, Turner says he is breaking up by installs. 

“We have gotten through, I think, so far six at this point,” Turner said. “They are separated by play type and then we will do a situational install.”


Turner said everyone’s brain works differently so the staff tries to group things together as best they can. It’s slightly different for the quarterbacks, 

“The big thing there is just every play, explain to the them what the objective is on that play, what we are trying to accomplish and what the philosophy is,” Turner said. “That’s something that’s are trying to express to those guys.”

Running those meetings are Turner and Ken Zampese, Washington’s quarterbacks coach. Then there’s Luke Del Rio, the son of Jack, the defensive coordinator. He’s only 25, but is quickly emerging in his new role as offensive quality control coach, organizing notes and coming up with useful information for the quarterbacks.

While head coach Ron Rivera continues to stress competition, he has named Dwayne Haskins Jr as their guy. Kyle Allen is the backup quarterback.

And then there is Smith.

The 13-year veteran missed all last season after suffering one of the most gruesome injuries in NFL history in Week 11 of the 2018 season. He participates in all the meetings, but we wait to see if he can miraculously return to the field. 

An ESPN E:60 documentary featured Smith’s rehab process, giving the world an inside view into the destruction of his leg and the power of his mindset to try to overcome it. Rivera has recently said Smith will have to be able to “protect himself” in order to compete at camp in August.

At the end of the 2019 season, Smith adamantly told reporters he planned to return to the game: “Without a doubt”. 

It would be nothing short of a miracle, and proof of modern-day medical practices, if that becomes a reality. Some say he’ll never play again, while others say it wouldn’t surprise them given Smith’s determination.

In the meantime, Smith continues to be a leader in the virtual meeting room offering as much input as he can. Setting the example for Haskins on how to prepare as an NFL quarterback. Haskins openly admits how smart Smith is and how willing he is to learn from him. Haskins also sees Turner as a young coach he can relate to.

It’s a new offense for Smith and Haskins to learn. Allen is more familiar, having played in it for two years in Carolina. But in the virtual classroom, Turner says all are equal. 

“We’re kind of throwing a lot at them,” Turner said. “In the beginning of every meeting, we do some quizzes, tests. Just test their retention.” 

All are quizzed at the same and all taking their own notes. Allen has said he is more than willing to help others learn the system when he can.

So how will we know the effectiveness of these virtual meetings and who has a firm grasp of the offense? From player to coach, I am told there is only one way — when live practice takes place. Until then, Turner and his quarterbacks will Zoom away.

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Why Jack Del Rio calls having a rotation of pass rushers both 'good' and 'not so comfortable'

Why Jack Del Rio calls having a rotation of pass rushers both 'good' and 'not so comfortable'

When scanning the Redskins roster from top to bottom, there's one position group that stands out above the rest: the defensive front.

In each of the last four drafts, Washington has used a first-rounder on a member of that unit: Jonathan Allen 17th overall in 2017, Daron Payne 13th in 2018, Montez Sweat 26th in 2019 and most recently, Chase Young second overall in 2020. And when discussing Washington's front four, Matt Ioannidis -- a fifth-rounder in 2015 -- cannot be forgotten, as he was the best of the bunch a season ago when he was named a Pro Bowl alternate.

All five of these players are 26 or younger and each one of them is under contract for at least the next two seasons. Head coach Ron Rivera has already stated he hopes the addition of Young was the final piece of a defensive line that can play together for years.

But as Rivera and new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio take over this defense, they must find a role for the defense's most accomplished player: Ryan Kerrigan. 

Del Rio was asked about how he plans to balance playing Kerrigan with the young talent, and the defensive coordinator admitted that having that challenge is both "good" and "not so comfortable."

"You're fired up for having all of these guys, but then they can't all go on the field at the same time," Del Rio said on a Zoom call with local media on Thursday. "So that is part of it, like being able to deal with that aspect of it, having guys understand, 'Hey, you're not going to play all the time.' Or, 'You're not the starter.'"


Since Washington selected him in the first round of the 2011 Draft, all Kerrigan has done is produce. His 90 career sacks are the fourth-most in the league since 2011, trailing on Chandler Jones, J.J. Watt, and Von Miller. The pass rusher played 139 consecutive games before missing ever missing a contest, and entering 2020, remains just one sack behind Dexter Manley for the Redskins' all-time sack record.

Despite Kerrigan's longevity and success, his 2019 campaign was by far the worst of his career. With the pass rusher entering the final year of his contract this season and a new regime coming in, it's understandable if the new staff caters to the younger talent. 

So, how does the defensive coordinator plan on splitting up the reps between Kerrigan, a proven veteran, and guys like Young and Sweat, who are much younger with a tremendous amount of potential?

"Those are things to me, that always get settled best with competition and once guys earn what they've earned I think everybody in the room pretty much understands that," Del Rio explained.

Competition has been a buzzword for the new Redskins regime, but it's something both Rivera and Del Ro truly believe in. 

"It is all about competition and that is really what the league is all about," Del Rio said. "You have to perform. It is a performance-based business. You have to perform, and those who perform the best play the most."

Del Rio admitted balancing playing time between Kerrigan and the team's young talent will be hard to navigate. He compared it to having a star-studded roster on a basketball team, where there's not "enough balls to go around and you have a bunch of stars."

Although balancing the two will be a difficult task, Del Rio made sure to emphasize that this is a good problem to have for the Redskins. To piggyback off of Del Rio's basketball analogy, every championship roster needs a good bench (heck, Del Rio saw this first-hand when he was coaching in Oakland from 2015-17 during the Warriors' glory years).

"It is good to have good players," he said. "We have good players in our front, guys that were well thought of coming out of the draft and they were taken high and we should expect them to be really good players for us, and be a really solid foundation for us to build around."

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