With roster cuts looming, the Redskins look to have a fairly solid backfield. Alfred Morris and Matt Jones are locks for the 53, and a strong offseason from oft-injured third-year pro Chris Thompson seems to have secured his spot on the team.
Injuries have derailed Thompson's previous offseasons, but this season, the young runner out of Florida State made a commitment to himself that resulted in better health. Thompson said he spent the summer "eating better, doing yoga during the offseason, just really trying to take care of my body."
The results have been impressive.
"Just being able to practice every single day from OTAs to playing in the game (against the Jaguars), I didn't miss any practices. It was good to go out every day," Thompson said. "I thought that was pretty good for me."
Now what role Thompson occupies is still up for debate. Morris will be the starter, but it looks like Jones will see plenty of work, and not just in a change of pace slot. That leaves little opportunity for Thompson, but a third down back could emerge. Of the third-down back spot, Thompson said he's "hopeful," but he also wanted to show the coaches that he can do more than be just a speed and shift guy.
A conversation with running backs coach Randy Jordan opened up Thompson's eyes.
"Coach Jordan told me, 'You're only 190 (lbs.) but I want you to play big,'" Thompson said. "I just wanted to go into every game, every practice and show them although I got speed I can cut it up inside and get 3rd and 1, 3rd and 2, any of those situations."
In four preseason games this year, Thompson has rushed 27 times for 113 yards and a touchdown. Good for a 4.2 yards-per-carry average, Thompson has shown the ability to get inside yards, particularly on a goal line carry in Baltimore. After the Jaguars game, it was clear Thompson believed he had shown coaches he will make the effort for tough yards inside the box, but he also confessed, "I'm a guy that always wants to get the big play."
The good news is with Morris and Jones available, Thompson will be looked to more for big plays than tough yards. Roy Helu put up impressive numbers as a third down back last season, and if Thompson can approach similar success, he will have carved out a good role in Washington.
Like any football player, being healthy is so vital to making a good impression on coaches. Coming into training camp, there were honest questions about Thompson's future with the 'Skins. Now those questions seem answered. Beyond the yoga, and probably better luck, what was the key for Thompson's improved health this offseason?
"I love candy. That's one of the biggest things I had to cut back on a little bit," he explained. "Chocolate covered almonds, that's my thing. I had to kind of let it go."