Redskins

Quick Links

Redskins at the crossroads: RB Chris Thompson

chris-thompson-vs.-raiders.png

Redskins at the crossroads: RB Chris Thompson

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. 

Up today…

Player: Chris Thompson.

Position: Running back.

Age: 24.

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.

Quick Links

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

alex_smith_otas_ap.png
Associated Press

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp

Even though it was a bright, warm Wednesday in Ashburn the Redskins held their OTA session in the practice bubble because recent rains have left their outdoor fields to soggy to use. Here are my observations from the practice:

—A few Redskins were not present and a few who were there were not participating in the drills. Jay Gruden said that OT Trent Williams is rehabbing in Texas and that LB Zach Brown is in the process of relocating to the Washington area. RB Chris Thompson and OT Morgan Moses were present, but both were spectators. 

— It should be noted that even though Moses didn’t practice and is still rehabbing after ankle surgery, he still participated in the sideline-to-sideline running the team does at the end of practice.

—At rookie camp, RB Derrius Guice was first in line to do every drill. Today, he gave way to the veterans to all take their reps and then he went first among the rookies. 

— “Fat Rob” Kelley never really was fat but he is now lean and mean. He also seems to be a half step quicker than he was in the past. Added competition in the form of second- and fourth-round picks being added at your position will do that to a player. 

—The “starting” offensive line from left to right was Geron Christian, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, and John Kling. The interior could well start the season; the tackle position awaits the returns of Williams, Moses, and Ty Nsekhe. 

—RB Byron Marshall, who was on the team briefly last year before getting injured, looked very quick with good acceleration.

—CB Josh Norman was back with the group fielding punts. I seriously doubt that he will handle any kicks in games, even preseason games, but perhaps with DeAngelo Hall being gone he wants to be available as an emergency option. Also back with the punt returners were CB Danny Johnson, CB Greg Stroman, WR Maurice Harris, WR De’Mornay Pierson-El, and, of course, WR Jamison Crowder.

—S D.J. Swearinger spent most of the special teams practice on the sideline working on catching passes with his hands extended away from his body. A little while later, he had a chance to make an interception with his arms extended. Of course, he dropped it. 

—It seems like QB Alex Smith and Crowder have some good rapport built already. Once on the right sideline and a few minutes later on the left, Smith threw a well-placed ball into Crowder, who was well covered on both occasions. 

—Eventually, CB Orlando Scandrick caught on and he swatted down a quick out to Crowder. 

—With Brown out, Josh Harvey-Clemons was with the first unit at inside linebacker. He’s still skinny but less so than he was last year. The second-year player was impressive in coverage, staying with Crowder step for step on a deep pass down the middle.

—The play of the day was a deep pass down the right side from Smith to WR Paul Richardson. Stroman was with the receiver step for step on the 9 route but Smith laid the ball out perfectly and Richardson made a lunging catch. Even though it doesn’t have to under the new rule, the catch did survive the ground. 

—WR Cam Sims had a few impressive plays. On one, QB Colt McCoy lofted one high in the air down the right side. Sims kept his focus on the ball while two defenders lost it and made the catch. 

—WR Trey Quinn had his moments. He made a good grab while being bumped by Scandrick. But a while later he dropped a fairly easy one. 

—The running backs all looked good but Guice looked the best of all of them. He had an ability to cut and maintain his speed that not many have. With the warning that they were playing with no pads with no contact and not at full speed, Guice’s vision appeared to be outstanding. 

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Player one-liners, offense
- Tandler’s Take: Best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
- The draft: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- Schedule series: Gotta beat the Cowboys

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Quick Links

NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

usatsi_10587585.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

NFL owners unanimously approve new national anthem policy

NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.

This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. 

Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though. 

The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.