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Chris Thompson Looking Forward To A Potential Three-Headed Monster At Running Back


Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, Chris Thompson. They all share things in common that have set them apart in their times as Redskins. Not only were they all alums of powerhouse ACC programs, but they all served as elite offensive weapons for Redskins offenses during their careers.

Thompson, a fleet-footed 5-foot-9 scatback has flashed potential over his career to be one of the top offensive weapons not just in Washington's offense, but in the entire NFL.

He entered the league as most players do if under the stereotypical "mold;" underappreciated and overlooked. So much so that six years after his debut season, and in Adrian Peterson's first year in Washington, Peterson believed Thompson played defense.

"You play corner?" Peterson asked when the two met back in August.

A surprising remark, as Thompson has proven to be an accomplished football player, which any NFL braintrust would agree.

A fifth-round pick in 2013, Thompson, after earning limited snaps and contributing mostly on special teams his first two years in the league, has made it to a second contract, something more than half of the league never does. 

In six seasons with the Redskins, Thompson has nearly 2,500 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns. At times, he's been among the best third down backs in the NFL. 

When healthy and suited up for head coach Jay Gruden's squad, Thompson has continually proven to be an elite weapon.

Thompson had two fewer catches and 21 more carries in the same number of appearances (10) during his breakout 2017 campaign , which looked like an All-Pro season. He produced 4.6 yards per carry and 13.1 per reception with six total touchdowns. The 28-year-old Thompson took an unfortunate step back in 2018. While the 2017 breakout was welcomed, Thompson is primed to offer a considerable rebound season in 2019, as he has averaged 5.4 carries and 5.5 targets per game in 20 appearances over the past two seasons.

In 2017, the lightning-quick halfback was on track for a Pro Bowl season as he proved to be one of the most exciting weapons in the NFL, however, a broken leg at New Orelans in Week 11 ended his season abruptly. Those injuries have haunted Thompson, and it seems the injury bug has consistently followed him throughout his young career thus far.

The former Seminole missed seven games in 2018, which forced Adrian Peterson to take on an even heavier load as the bell cow in Washington's offense. With running back Derrius Guice, the Redskins second-round selection out of LSU out on IR due to a torn ACL, the Redskins target 2019 to debut a potential three-headed monster in their backfield.

"I'm going to be talking to him a lot more this offseason," Thompson said of mentoring Guice. "He's been in and out and we've been busy with practices and meetings and stuff. This offseason I'll definitely be doing everything I can to help him. I know AP [Adrian Peterson] is going to do all he can as well because I think he is supposed to go train with him or whatever. We're going to do everything we can, both of us, to help him.

"I know how great of a player he can be, the focus is just trying to do whatever we can and I've been through the ACL and I know how that whole process is," Thompson said. "It's slow and sometimes aggravating and I know how he can get, he can get very impatient pretty quick so, I'm going to try to do everything I can to help him and I know without a doubt he's going to be a great running back in this league. I'm just going to stick with him through it and just try to help him be the best that he can."

As overcoming injury seemed to be the theme for the Redskins in 2018 at almost every position, Thompson couldn't say enough on the job quarterback Josh Johnson did stepping in for the injured Alex Smith and Colt McCoy.

"It was amazing. In all of my play of football I've never seen a guy just come in and just take control and gain respect as quick as Josh did," Thompson said. "It was quick, man, like he was performing well with it as well. He knew a lot of the offense because he was a little familiar with Jay, but that was some years back. I guess he remembered a lot of the core concepts back then that might have helped him when he got here. He was just great, I can't say enough good things about him and I think every guy on offense would love to have him back with us again next year. We definitely enjoy having him for sure."

As Thompson, Guice, and Peterson all look to 2019, the three "highlight-film" backs look primed to be one of the strongest running back groups in the NFL. Gruden and running backs coach Randy Jordan will have their hands full come OTAs in May.