A handful of Redskins have arrived at a crossroads in their career. Some haven’t been consistent. A few have battled injuries. Others simply are on the wrong side of 30. Whatever their situation, these players are entering a make-or-break stretch as the team’s offseason program begins. In the coming days, Redskins Insider Tarik El-Bashir will evaluate their chances of making the 53-man roster.
Player: Chris Thompson.
Position: Running back.
2015 cap number: $585,000.
2014 stats: Two games, three carries for 12 yards, six receptions for 27 yards and a touchdown.
Outlook: The Redskins kept four running backs last season. If that’s the case again in 2015, three of the four spots figure to be occupied by starting tailback Alfred Morris, dependable fullback Darrel Young and rookie Matt Jones, whom the team drafted in the third round. That probably leaves Thompson, Silas Redd, undrafted rookie Trey Williams and journeyman Michael Hill battling for one roster spot.
The Redskins need a third down running back after losing Roy Helu Jr. via free agency, and Thompson, Redd and Jones each possess traits that could help. But each has little or no NFL experience actually doing the job. At the owners meetings in March, Gruden said Thompson would get the first crack securing the role. That, however, was before Jones entered the fray. Yeah, it’s a bit muddled right now.
Thompson can’t worry about the numbers game, though. First, he’s got to stay healthy, which he’s struggled to do since being picked in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. A shoulder injury ended his rookie season and concerns about his durability sent him to the practice squad last year. Second, he’s just got to be who he is: a small back with speed to burn, the elusiveness to make defenders miss and the hands to make plays in the passing game.
Coach Jay Gruden is intrigued by Thompson’s skill set and has said so publicly a few times in recent months. But as Thompson enters his third NFL offseason, he’s also running out of opportunities to turn all of that potential into production.
My gut feeling is that Gruden will find room for Thompson...as long as he's able to stay healthy.