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Need to Know: Will Thompson remain in the mix for the Redskins?

Oct 10, 2015, 4:17 AM EDT

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, October 8, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Atlanta Falcons.

Saturday mailbag

Some good questions from Twitter and the Real Redskins Facebook page this week so let’s dive right in.

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Johnson came in thinking he would be handed the starting job at strong safety. That was his first mistake. He got a strong challenge from Duke Ihenacho and he never really responded to it. A hamstring injury in training camp clinched the job for Ihenacho and let Trenton Robinson get past him on the depth chart, in position to get the job when Ihenacho went out for the season with a wrist injury. And it seems that Johnson simply has not responded well to his situation. We still have a long way to go in the season so perhaps Johnson will be heard from.

Chris Thompson is definitely in the plans to get touches on a regular basis. He’s not going to get 20 carries a game, or even 15. But they would like to get him three to five carries per game and target him four or five times in the passing game. Thompson could perhaps earn a few more touches if he does well but as long as Matt Jones and Alfred Morris are playing well it will be hard to get many more touches for Thompson.

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There are no free agents out there in October who would be of legitimate help. They are as rare as unicorns. A trade? Maybe but the Falcons aren’t dealing Julio and no team with a similar weapon is going to cut an in-season deal, either. The Redskins are going to have to get along in the red zone with what they have. Although he is not huge, I think Pierre Garçon can help there as he showed against the Eagles. I also think they might get the ball to Matt Jones on a few passes out of the backfield.

I think that for starters, Morris’ numbers need to stop their annual decline we’ve seen since his big debut in 2012. He would need to become a better receiver out of the backfield and break some long runs. Right now, Morris is a very good runner but not an “elite” running back if you want to use the true since of the word. There are only a few of them, by definition—Peterson, Forte, Charles, Lynch. Morris is who he is, very good and a major asset to this team. But he is not an elite running back.

Grant is not going to be fast in and out of breaks because he’s not very fast. He is an outstanding route runner and that is how he will survive in the league. He will get chances for the next week or so while DeSean Jackson is out. When Jackson is back, however, it looks like Jamison Crowder will continue to be the slot receiver so Grant’s snaps, and so his chances, will be limited.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Walkthrough and travel to Atlanta; no availability

Days until: Redskins @ Falcons 1; Redskins @ Jets 8; Bucs @ Redskins 15

  1. troylok - Oct 10, 2015 at 8:51 AM

    As far as Chris Thompson’s touches, what the Redskins have assembled at running back is kind of like a Swiss army knife. They have Thompson for defenders that have a slower front seven. They have Morris as kind of a wear-them-down back, and then they have Matt Jones as the power back. I think moving forward Gruden needs to stick with the hot hand in the game. I think he discovered the Giants’ vulnerability to Thompson too late in that game. I think he got it right against the Rams with Matt Jones. Using Morris against Philly seemed to be the right call late in the game. I have heard that the Falcons are a little sloth of foot on defense so Thompson seems to be the right tool for the game.

  2. abanig - Oct 10, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    Good stuff! I agree on all of your answer. I definitely think Thompson will remain an important part of the offense as a cop back and a receiver out of the backfield.

  3. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Oct 10, 2015 at 9:32 AM

    Thompson and the others will have to step up this week with Reed out.
    ~

    • abanig - Oct 10, 2015 at 9:59 AM

      They’ll spread the love. I expect Garcon to be targeted more in the slot and for Ross to see more time. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Roberts see some reps again also.

      Expect more 4 WR sets

    • ET - Oct 10, 2015 at 12:05 PM

      Interested to see how many targets Carrier and the other TE Guy get, if any, and whether Jones or D Young pick up some extra assignments because of the tight end situation.

  4. ET - Oct 10, 2015 at 12:25 PM

    Will the Skins’ patchwork secondary be able to withstand Ryan & Company? If they can make some plays, we have a shot.

  5. goback2rfk - Oct 10, 2015 at 1:22 PM

    This guy from Baylor that is 6 foot seven, 420 pounds, just scored on a 18 yard TD pass.

  6. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Oct 10, 2015 at 4:33 PM

    CB Shareece Wright released by 49ers. I have no idea if he’s got much left.
    ~

    • abanig - Oct 10, 2015 at 5:27 PM

      Doesn’t hurt to work out Wright

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Oct 10, 2015 at 7:36 PM

        Joe Barry was a coach at San Diego when Wright was there (linebackers coach).
        ~

  7. Johnny B. - Oct 10, 2015 at 4:40 PM

    I can honestly say that we have the most dominant 3 set backs in the league. With Morris, Jones, and Thompson the Redskins have two speedy runners,Two power runners, and two pass catching threats. Morris is a dominant back not an all around back like Jones is but he can get you yards. Thompson and Jones are shifty and fast Jones can run people over. In time Jones will be a premier back in this league if he can stay healthy. I would not trade the trio for nothing. I guess Johnson does not want it bad enough yet he has the skills not the mind set yet. And Grant very good receiver but not fast and too short for a #1 or 2 pushing it for the slot but good hands and route running with a killer attitude keeps him here. I love the Redskins with them for life HTTR

    • abanig - Oct 10, 2015 at 5:26 PM

      Who’s Johnson?

      Ryan Grant is 6′, that’s average height for an NFL WR.

      Steve Smith, DeSean Jackson, Santana Moss amongst a million other starting receivers who have played, are playing and will play in the NFL aren’t as tall as him.

      I really don’t understand your point about Ryan Grant… :-/

      • abanig - Oct 10, 2015 at 5:38 PM

        Never mind. I kinda understand what you’re trying to say and you’re talking about Jeron Johnson. Seems to me Johnson came to the skins kind of entitled that he’s win the job SS and didn’t work as hard as he should have to get it. Then he got hurt, which allowed both Ihenacho & TRobinson to prove they were more consistent players.

        I personally think Ryan Grant can be a #2 WR. He’s basically been the Redskins #2 WR this year. You don’t need to be a burner to be a good WR, you just have to know how to get open, be reliable and have good hands. Grant is all of those things. Cousins actually overshot him on a few passes this year and three behind him on a few, if he hadn’t, Grant would probably have 15 receptions for 200 yards and a TD or 2 this season.

      • Johnny B. - Oct 10, 2015 at 7:45 PM

        Jeron Johnson the safety we picked up from Seattle. And Grant if we pic up a good wr in the Draft fast and 6 3 /6 4 Grant will not have any play time. Also DeShawn, Santana Moss ,and Smith all are faster than Grant so being a little shorter doesn’t matter. Also Grant is nowhere near the level of those 3 Santana did not get back on the team do to age and decline of ability but he still was better than Grant at that time. Give Grant some more speed and he will start every Game.

        • skinsgame - Oct 11, 2015 at 5:34 AM

          Yeah, what were we thinking this past draft? Why didn’t we just draft a 6′ 4″ fast WR? They’re all over the place.

        • abanig - Oct 11, 2015 at 10:17 AM

          You do know there are different types of wrs in the NFL. Ryan Grant is like Gary Clark, not overly tall, big or fast but savy and an excellent route runner who seems to always get open.

          You do realize arguably the best WR in the NFL is 5’10 and runs a 4.7 forty right? – Antonio Brown.

          Sure we could use a Calvin Johnson or Julio Jones, but as someone else said those players don’t just grow on trees.

        • Johnny B. - Oct 13, 2015 at 8:28 AM

          With this team for the next couple of years the only thing that Grant will be is a backup. We have Dejax ,Garson, and Crowder starting. With 2 more drafts available we will find better wr’s to replace Garson and possibly Dejax. So all I see him being here is a backup. If he worked hard and gets faster maybe.

        • abanig - Oct 13, 2015 at 11:37 AM

          Yeah, I agree that Grant is likely to be a starter, but his game does remind me of Gary Clark’s. He just always seems to get open with good routes and rarely drops passes. He’s also a good blocker.

          I for one am not sold that Garcon is on the team next year. He’s going to cost $10.2 million next season. If we cut him, we save $8 million.

          I think we have the guys on our roster to replace Garcon if Djax is back and healthy for sure. We also could sign a cheaper veteran option or draft another wide receiver.

    • goback2rfk - Oct 10, 2015 at 10:12 PM

      We have one of the best back sets in the league for sure. The Eagles have the best. Demarco Murray, Ryan Matthews, and Daren Sproles. <———– Those backs are hard to beat except for they have no blocking

      • Johnny B. - Oct 11, 2015 at 2:02 AM

        Well Murray was good running behind Dallas Cowboys O line. Not at the Eagles will not get started. And you got to be kidding me with the other two. Sure Sproles is good but Kelly does not know how to use the trio. So as of this season The Redskins trio is the best and will run over the rest.

  8. David Fernandez - Oct 10, 2015 at 5:15 PM

    Hey Rich,

    I not only am a diehard Redskins fan, but I am also a big football fan. I have seen the comment you put up in regards to Morris being or not being an elite Running back. I do agree with you about him not being one yet! And yes I say yet because I do believe he will get to that status. What bothers me about not only your comment but other analyst’s comment saying that because of his decline in yardage he is not an elite running back. I think that’s a wrong assessment in that regards, but what bothers me is that D. Murray has been in the league 3yrs never going over a thousand yards except for last year yet Morris since his rookie year has reached over 1,000 yds all 4yrs. Should he continue he would be one of the few running backs to go over 1,000 yds rushing Every year with an obismal O-line which reminds me of Barry Sanders doing the same with an even worse O-line Not that I’m saying Morris is or would be a Sanders but my point is all analyst had Murray as an elite RB only because he went Over 1,000 yds plus with one of the best if not the best O-line in the NFL and look at him so far. If we say that Morris is not yet elite because he is not a receiving threat I would say that is a good assessment but because of yardage neh!!! Loved your column though.

  9. Joe - Oct 10, 2015 at 8:10 PM

    What’s the story with RGIII? It seems like Washington is hanging on to him because they’re not sure how Cousins will pan out and they don’t want him to go to another team and do good.

  10. Skulb - Oct 11, 2015 at 4:02 AM

    I think it´s time for the Skins to make a loud statement in this game. An away win against a 4-0 team would make a lot of people take notice.

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