Fewer than 24 hours after the 2018 season ended, Chris Thompson was already looking ahead to 2019 and what could be a very dangerous Redskins running back group.
"He's going to be ready for sure," Thompson said about Derrius Guice. "You know how AP came back from his [torn] ACL, how freakish he was after that, so I'm excited for him."
"Speaking of AP," he added, referring to Adrian Peterson, "I'm excited for him, too, and I hope we can get him back as well."
Fans of the Burgundy and Gold are right to be concerned about a lot of the team's future. But a running back trio of Thompson, Guice, and Peterson would be one huge reason to anticipate next year.
With that being said, while those names look tremendous on a depth chart, questions still remain about how it'd all work on the field. Here are three of the biggest ones worth asking.
1) How would Peterson and Guice fit together?
Peterson's a free agent, so first, the team would need to re-sign him. If they do, next up would be figuring out how to make sure he and Guice could co-exist.
The future Hall of Famer is a classic No. 1 option, the type of guy who thrives the more times he gets to carry the ball and who stares at his head coach when he's not receiving enough action. His best games with the 'Skins came when his attempts neared or exceeded 20, and while game flow played a large role in determining the number of rushes he racked up, he simply plays better the more he gets to wear down a defense.
Next year, though, Washington will want to get a lot out of their 2018 second-rounder and see how dynamic he can be as a pro. Peterson's recent stint with the Saints was a brief but unsuccessful experience for him trying to fit in amongst a rotation of RBs, and though he's said he'd have no problem splitting carries with Guice, it remains to be seen how effective that timeshare would be.
2) Could all three stay healthy enough?
A three-headed monster is significantly less useful when one or more of those heads is in street clothes or on IR. Unfortunately, that's something the Redskins would have to worry about with this lineup.
Guice had knee issues late in his career at LSU and went down with a season-ending knee injury in his first preseason game last August. Thompson has missed six games in each of the past two seasons. Weirdly enough, the 33-year-old Peterson has the most recent track record of durability, but how long can that realistically last?
If there's been anything to learn about this franchise the past few seasons, it's that injuries will strike and, often times, they'll strike key players. Perhaps they'd be better served moving forward with Guice and then substituting Thompson and/or Peterson for a younger or more durable threat.
3) Could Jay Gruden figure out a way to use combinations of them at the same time?
If all three backs return for 2019, putting any one of them on the field would give Jay Gruden an enticing talent to use. Where things could really open up, however, is if he could play two of them in the backfield at the same time.
Gruden put together packages for Peterson/Thompson and Byron Marshall toward the end of last season, but those packages were sent out behind a torn up offensive line and with very limited QBs.
A Guice-Peterson pair or Guice-Thompson pair behind healthy blockers and a non-Mark Sanchez passer, though? Now you're putting some fear into a defense and giving your offense the advantage. But it'd be on Gruden and other offensive coaches to scheme those up and then deploy them enough to find a rhythm.
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