Will Chris Thompson Return to his Role so the Redskins can Roll?
Chris Thompson could make his return on Sunday to the Redskins backfield. He's a game-time decision.
The Redskins need him and have needed him. He hasn't played since their only win in Miami on October 13th.
Thompson can help the Redskins in the passing game in more ways than one.
The obvious way is as a screen receiver and check down option who can make somebody miss and help the offense break a big play or actually stay on the field for a change.
The other way is in pass protection. He's way better than Derrius Guice or Adrian Peterson in this key area and when you factor in the pressure Haskins was under in the first three quarters of the Jets game (six sacks) and the second half against Buffalo (three sacks), Thompson impact could be much larger than anything you can measure in the box score.
From time to time, Thompson is not great in this area. He struggled at times against Chicago and New England.
Most games, he's more than solid, if not good.
Last week, Wendell Smallwood was on the field for the most amount of snaps among Redskins running backs. Part of that was because the Skins couldn't run the ball against a talented and stout Jets front.
The other reason for that, which NOBODY understood for some reason, is that while Derrius Guice is capable of picking up blitzers and pressure, he was just returning and only playing in his 2nd NFL game.
Why would anybody trust him over Smallwood who has been filling Thompson's role and has plenty of NFL experience from his time in Philadelphia.
Yes, I know Guice is a much better talent than Smallwood but if you can't pick up the blitz and pressure - what good does pure talent do? The Redskins had to ease Guice back in, to multiple roles and did it the smart way.
Remember, he had almost no NFL game experience because of injury and only has 43 total snaps in his two-game NFL career.
Smallwood was adequate in a limited pass block role earlier in the year but has struggled more since Dwayne Haskins has taken over at quarterback. Some of that is on Smallwood, some of that is on Haskins. It's complicated.
If Thompson is active Sunday against the Lions, you could keep Smallwood active to help out while you ramp Thompson back up. If Thompson is out, which many expect, I would expect to see the veteran Smallwood in a smaller role, but still a fairly voluminous role if the Redskins are down early and in a lot of passing situations.
As for Thompson, he's a free agent at the end of the year and is one of the best guys for reporters to talk with in a locker room that is void of many that are significant contributors.
He had plenty of thoughts on a wide variety of topics earlier this week in the Redskins locker room. Redskins Maven/S-I was there and now you are too.
Chris Russell is the Publisher of Sports Illustrated's Washington Redskins channel & can be heard on 106.7 The FAN in the Washington D.C. area and world-wide on Radio.com. Chris also hosts the "Locked on Redskins" Podcast and can be read via subscription to Warpath Magazine. You can e-mail Chris at russellmania09@Gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @Russellmania621.