Just how trying was the 2014 season for Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson, especially taking into account that he had, in his words. one of the best camps he's had throughout his playing days?
"It was very frustrating," Thompson admitted as he packed up his belongs at his locker following the Redskins' season finale against the Dallas Cowboys. "I had my lows and my highs. I had the ankle injury and that set me back, so that was real frustrating."
A countdown of the Top 10 images of Redskins running back Chris Thompson during the 2014 season.
Thompson indeed showed flashes of the speedy back whose skill set can mesh perfectly with a quarterback like Robert Griffin III and spell the more downhill running style of Alfred Morris perfectly during training camp.
Against the New England Patriots in the preseason opener, though, the Florida State product suffered a high ankle sprain that would hamper some of the progress he had made.
He'd eventually return in the preseason finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the Redskins opted to keep Morris, Roy Helu Jr. and Silas Redd Jr. on the active roster and have Thompson remain on the team, but on the practice squad instead.
Thompson would spend the majority of the season in a role that would help the defense get ready for the opponent, as he would simulate the actions of guys like Philadelphia Eagles running backs Darren Sproles and LeSean McCoy.
But in the week leading up to the Redskins' Week 15 game against the New York Giants, Thompson got his chance to prove what he's made of on Sundays.
On his very first career touch in a regular-season game, Thomspon found himself wide-open for a third-down scoring connection with Griffin III.
"That was a new look for us," Thompson said. "I wasn't sure if Stevie Brown was trying to guard me or blitz, but I guess he decided to blitz and the backer did also, so the field was open. ... So after I got around Stevie Brown, I just looked at Griff and was waiting for the ball and he got to me."
While it was a special moment for Thompson, it also showed the former Seminole that there's still a lot of room for improvement in his game.
"It's just a big learning curve for me," he said. "Second game when we played Philly (Week 16), I was a little too fast, playing a little too fast for myself and over running a lot of things. So that was something that I could learn from. This second year was a big learning curve for me and it's something for me to build on next year."
Thompson said even the setbacks helped him grow and realize what it takes to succeed at the NFL level.
"I think all of that was just helping with my growth as a player, as a person, just dealing with adversity on this level because it's different from college," Thompson said. "It's all something for me to build on going into next year. My mindset, I want to come in next year and be the guy. Whatever role they want me to play, I want to fill it and really make some plays and put us in position to win more than four games.
Thompson has been giving his body some rest over the last few weeks, but without a lot of wear and tear, he plans on jumping right into his offseason workouts.
"I feel good right now; I feel like I can get started now," he said. "I don't want to get started too early and get to a point where I'm like 'Oh, man, I need a break now' and end up taking that two or three week break later on and it affect me. So I think I might give a little time, but not as much as guys that played through the full season."
And while he's planning on working on his overall skillset, Thomson wants to strengthen some of the areas of his game that can make him so lethal.
"I wasn't built to be a big 200-pound guy, so just working on getting stronger, basically work on my weaknesses and my strengths, continue to get better at them," he said. "I want to try to get faster. I want to get quicker. I want to be better in my route running. I want to catch the ball better. I want to get better at my pass blocking, which that's just me working on my leverage."