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Jonathan Allen wants Jim Tomsula back - but he understands if he puts his family first

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USA Today Sports

Jonathan Allen wants Jim Tomsula back - but he understands if he puts his family first

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Redskins offseason thus far comes from the lack of change. Bruce Allen, Jay Gruden, Greg Manusky are all coming back. 

One name that is less certain, and is widely loved, is defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. 

For Tomsula, there is no pressure on him to perform better. His work in developing Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle probably ranks as the most impressive on the team. 

"Jim [Tomsula] is definitely my favorite coach I've ever had," Redskins defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said this week. "I don’t really count [University of Alabama] Coach [Nick] Saban because he wasn’t my position coach, but as a position coach, love Jim Tom."

The Alabama product's comments came during a charity even at National Children's Hospital, and they came during an interesting time for the Redskins defense. The organization spoke with a number of highly sought after defensive coordinator candidates in the last few weeks, but stuck with Manusky at the position. The team claimed, through an unnamed source in a Washington Post article, that the meetings were just to gain different perspectives. Interesting. 

Now that Manuksy is back, however, the future for Tomsula becomes one of the biggest questions for the club. 

It sounds like Allen is prepared for any outcome. 

"I don’t know if he will be back. I would love to have him back but he has a family, definitely he’s a big family guy and his family is in Florida," Allen said. "I can completely understand his reasons for not coming back."

Any conversation with Tomsula always centers around family. He's one of the few coaches that remembers reporters' kids' ages and often asks about them. It's a genuine thing for Tomsula, and it's impressive. 

He is also close friends with Manuksy, and the coordinator's return could help in keeping the fiery D-line coach. If Tomsula does leave Ashburn, he's already made a significant impact for players like Allen.

"Regardless what happens I wish him nothing but the best and I’m just glad I got to spend two years with him."

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Would pursuing Antonio Brown be worth it for the Redskins considering their QB situation?

Would pursuing Antonio Brown be worth it for the Redskins considering their QB situation?

The Redskins need a stud wide receiver. Badly.

Antonio Brown is a stud wide receiver. Undoubtedly.

So, Washington should pick up the phone, call Pittsburgh and figure out a way to work out a trade for Brown, right? 

It's not that easy.

There are plenty of obstacles between Brown becoming a member of the Redskins, as Washington would have to clear out quite a bit of salary to make room for him and also weigh whether he'll fit into their locker room.

Another thing worth considering, too: What's the point of acquiring Antonio Brown without a QB to maximize his talents?

There are serious questions about whether Alex Smith will play next season, or ever again. That means, barring a drastic move, the Redskins will go into 2019 with someone like Colt McCoy or an unproven youngster starting under center.

Sure, you could argue that Brown would make that passer's life a lot easier. He would, to an extent. But ask someone like Odell Beckham or Larry Fitzgerald what life is like on the outside, even as an elite talent, when the guy getting you the ball isn't properly equipped to do so.

Brown is one of the best pass catchers of his generation and will likely end up as one of the best of any era. Whatever offense he's lining up for next season will be better thanks to his presence.

However, this is a guy who's grown frustrated in a franchise that's made the postseason four of the past five years and is unhappy in a place where he's paired with a top-tier signal-caller. 

The Redskins, on the other hand, have neither the track record of success or a settled situation at QB, so it's fair to be very skeptical of how he'd handle a move to D.C.

Now, for this organization to break out of football's middle class, an area they're stuck in, going after a star and taking a risk is absolutely worth trying.

Unfortunately, the quarterback depth chart will affect every potential move. And when that potential move involves heavily investing in a premier wideout, the quarterback depth chart should probably dissuade anyone from ultimately making that move.   

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When I knew: Redskins' Chris Thompson on his journey from untouchable runner to the NFL

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USA TODAY Sports

When I knew: Redskins' Chris Thompson on his journey from untouchable runner to the NFL

At some point, every sports fan has some form of the same dream. Play quarterback in the NFL. Roam centerfield in the Majors. Splash 3-pointers in the NBA. Whack forehands at Wimbledon.

Along the way, most of us realize we peaked as kids. There's no hope of climbing that mountain or ever coming close, though on certain days and for fleeting moments... Nah, not happening.

That comprehension often comes early in life. For true romantics or delusional souls, perhaps a decade or two later.

For others, the dream turns into reality. Whether they stormed the courts as prodigies or developed their craft over time, a moment occurred when thoughts shifted. When they recognized they might be different. This series of interviews with local professional athletes focus on that moment.

Next up, Redskins running back Chris Thompson

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I think for me it truly started in high school. As a kid, I was always faster than everybody. When I played Little League ball that was no problem for me. I was more nervous about getting tackled. I didn’t want to play.

I had one Little League season -- I think I was in fifth grade I believe -- where I was tackled one time the whole season. That was in the championship game. Other than that, every time I touched [the ball] it was a touchdown.

When I got in high school, I was on varsity since my freshman year. I started at running back my sophomore year, playing against older guys, against teams that were bigger and better than us. I was able to perform well. I was like, alright I can probably make something out of this. That’s when I really got a good feeling about [my ability].

As far as making it to the NFL, honestly, it didn’t hit me until my sophomore year [at Florida State].

We got a new running back coach, Eddie Gran. He just started talking to me, teaching me about what I needed to be good at to make it to the league and be able to play for a long time because he helped produce a lot of running backs that made it (Deuce McAllister, Ronnie Brown, etc).

Just being around him and learning from him really helped me and gave me the confidence that I could make it to the NFL and be a very good player.

Then you reach the NFL. At what point did you think you got this?

That was really the toughest challenge, realizing (I could play in the NFL). It didn’t really hit me until my fourth year.

My rookie year it didn’t really work out too well (Lost role as the primary kick returner after four games before suffering a torn left labrum).

(Released and then signed to) the practice squad my second year so I was doubting everything at that point. Just being cut made me doubt my ability. Really one of the lowest parts of my entire football career.

My third year I knew it was my job because Coach (Jay) Gruden told me that. I could do my job, but excelling and going beyond expectations was really around my fourth year when it hit me. I finished that season out healthy. My first full season. (Thompson played all 16 games for the only time in his career to date, finishing with 49 receptions and 705 yards from scrimmage.)

After that, I was able to go into the offseason feeling really healthy for the first time. Feeling like myself once again like the senior year of college version of myself. As you could see last year (2017), I had a wonderful year.

Any specific moment in the NFL that had you thinking, I got this?

We were playing against the Eagles Week 16 in my third year to win the division. I think the first play I came in was in the red zone and I ended up scoring a touchdown on “choice” route against Kiko Alonso, who is a linebacker I have a lot of respect for. That really gave me some confidence.

I had a few more plays where I was just running routes, kind of getting open during that game and a few more games. I was OK, if I can be consistent, keep catching the ball and keep getting open, I could really be great at this. Then the game started slowing down for me in my fourth year. Then I got more comfortable. I got way more patient in my routes. It was like, dang, dude, with your footwork and acceleration, you can really get open against these guys and make some plays.

The transcript was edited for length and clarity.

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