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Play of the day: Redskins RB Thompson shows off his speed

Play of the day: Redskins RB Thompson shows off his speed

RICHMOND—It was a running play to the far side of where the media watches practice. Chris Thompson got the ball and then disappeared into a mass of bodies pursuing him as he ran to the right. All of a sudden he popped out of the crowd as he turned on the jets and burst past the defense for a nice gain. The play drew a few ooh’s and aah’s from the crowd. Speed always impresses.

And with the Redskins still in search of a backup to Matt Jones it makes you wonder if the Redskins are going to look to Thompson to handle those duties. Last year he had only 23 rushing attempts but three of them went for 26 yards or longer. Thompson could add some pop to the offense after the 6-2, 232-lb. Jones wears down the defense for a while.

He got only 23 carries last year in part because of the presence of Alfred Morris, who led the team in rushing attempts with 202. Now Morris is gone and the team has not signed or drafted anyone to take his place.

Sometimes Thompson seems to be very willing to take on a bigger role.

“We don't have Alfred here so that could mean more opportunities in the run game for me and be more involved in the game plan this year,” said Thompson. “Whatever the coaches have for me I just want to be prepared, to be ready.”

But later in the same interview session with reporters, Thompson indicated that although his role could get bigger he seems to be content as the third-down back.

“You know every guy always dreams of being the starter but for me, since I've been here, I've understood what my role is,” he said. “Even though I'm labeled as a third-down back my role still can continue to expand. I could possibly be that No. 2 to Matt if he gets tired I can be the one that's spelling him here and there.”

That doesn't sound like he's going to be going into Jay Gruden's office and saying, "Give me the damn ball" anytime soon.

There is legitimate concern that Thompson won’t hold up if his load is increased to around eight to 10 carries per game. Injuries plagued his career at Florida State and he missed most of his rookie season after a shoulder injury. A back bruise and another shoulder injury cost him three games last year. Thompson said he has a high tolerance for pain and there’s not reason to doubt that but the laws of physics say that a 5-8, 195-lb. running back isn’t going to be able to take much of a consistent pounding.

But his speed will always draw the attention of the coaches so he needs to be prepared to play a bigger role. He won’t carry 150 times this year but he could well get 75 to 100, especially if he can burst around the corner against other teams like he did in practice on Tuesday.

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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins

Out

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)

Cardinals

Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.

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Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

After separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Jordan Reed has officially been ruled out for the Redskins game in Arizona. 

Friday, coach Jay Gruden said Reed doesn't have sufficient range of motion to play against the Cardinals but remains hopeful he'll be healthy for the following game against the Eagles. Reed estimated that range was at about 30 percent Monday.

The decision to sit Reed against the Cardinals comes with little surprise. The 'Skins star tight end did not practice all week, even after having a few extra days to rest after the game last Thursday.

Playing without Reed is obviously a blow to the Washington offense, but No. 2 tight end Vernon Davis has been a strong development for Gruden's team this year. Thursday, Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay said that while losing Reed is a blow to the unit, the team can run almost all of the same plays and sets with Davis that they can with Reed. 

"Fortunately you’re in a situation where you feel really good about your tight end in Vernon Davis where he’s playing at an extremely high level in both phases in the run and in the pass game," McVay said.

As good as Davis has been, he's not the dynamic threat Reed presents. In the second half against Dallas — while playing with the injured shoulder — Reed hauled in two touchdowns and played arguably the best football of his career.

On the season Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns despite missing two games earlier this year dealing with a concussion.

Davis has played in all 11 games this season and has 31 catches for 450 yards and two TDs. 

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