Each day during training camp, the Redskins Blog will be highlighting one rookie as they participate in their first professional camp and try to find their way onto the final roster. Today’s spotlight is on running back Chris Thompson.
In the fifth round of this April’s draft, the Washington Redskins selected Florida State running back Chris Thompson with the 154th overall pick.
While the position wasn’t on many “experts” needs list for the team, the Redskins simply couldn’t pass on Thompson.
Over the last two seasons, Mike Shanahan’s zone-blocking run scheme has turned late round running backs Roy Helu, Jr. (fourth round in 2011) and Alfred Morris (sixth round in 2012) into overnight sensations.
Thompson, seeing their success, has gone to them for advice on the best way to translate his game to Shanahan’s offense.
“They’ve been helping me out a whole lot. Every single moment that they get to help me out, or if I have a question they’re quick to answer it.”
Being in this system, Alfred only a year, he knows everything really well and that just pretty much explains why he’s the starter now. But also a lot of the other guys have been starters and know the system also. So anybody I have a question for, they’re able to tell me right off the bat. And it’s good that we have such a great group of running backs here because we’re all competing every single day making each other better.”
Having Bobby Turner as a coach
The Washington Redskins have one of the best coaching staffs in the league. When Shanahan was hired in January 2010, he brought seasoned coaching veteran and longtime colleague Bobby Turner along with him.
Turner, who has 18 years of NFL coaching experience under his belt, is widely considered to be one of the best at working with running backs in football coaching’s tightly knit fraternity.
In his 18 seasons, 12 different running backs have produced 1,000 yard seasons to include Morris’ record-setting 1,613 yard campaign in 2012.
Thompson says that Turner makes sure that he’s picking up every single detail—an approach that’ll ease his acclimation to life in the NFL.
“Coach has been trying to help me out with my steps. I had a similar running game in college also, but the steps are a little different. [He’s] just helping me get off the ball at the right time because if I get off just a quick-second late then the hole is going to close. So coach has been helping me out with that part of it.”
He makes sure we’re on our toes every single day he wants us to repeat everything word for word that he tells us in the meeting rooms and it’s helping me a lot just hone in on every little thing he says. He’s been teaching me really well.”
It’s not football all the time
Thompson, like anyone his age, enjoys getting away from the rigors of everyday life by turning on the video game console and giving his thumbs a workout.
“That’s all I do,” Thompson said about how often he plays video games. “If I’m not at practice or in my playbook, I’m playing video games. That’s me and pretty much everybody that knows me knows that. Sometimes they tell me I play the game a little too much, but I don’t mind. I play every single sports game that there is and Call of Duty, that’s my thing.”
I for one, struggle at Call of Duty especially when playing online with people who camp out in crevices I didn’t even know existed. Thompson is one of those sneaky experts.
On August 27th, hundreds of gamers across the country will wait outside of stores determined to be the first to get their hands on the latest edition of Madden. While Thompson didn’t fill me in on whether or not he’ll be packing a tent, he did say that he’s going to evenly distribute the offense’s load. No 70 carry games for virtual Thompson—at least for now.
“Oh yeah, I’m not going to do that,” Thompson said. “I like to play whoever is the starter or who I feel like is the best man. I’m not so much of playing with myself like that, but maybe I’ll kick return.”
As for his 4.4 speed getting a 99 rating—he knows the game updates on a regular basis.
“It would be nice to have,” Thompson said with a grin. “Just this being the first year, I just feel blessed to even be in it. That’ll be just a great feeling in itself. They basically pretty much update every week so you know hopefully I’ll have a few guys maybe tweeting me, telling me ‘oh I played with you in the game,’ something like that so that’ll be really great to hear.”
Five W’s and one H
Who is your favorite sports teams not named the Washington Redskins?
“That’s hard to say. I have a few, it depends on the sport. Not too many Florida teams [actually]. Florida State, but that’s college. As far as professional leagues, I was never really a big fan of too many Florida teams.”
What is your favorite place to eat?
“I’m a burger guy so any place that sells burgers. There’s this place back in Tallahassee called Monks. They have the best burger I think I’ve ever had, like this peanut butter burger with bacon and cheese on it. It’s like the best thing ever.”
Where is the best place to get a cup of orange juice?
“[laughs] I think the best place I’ve had orange juice might’ve been in Miami was probably the best place I’ve ever had.”
When did you get your first cell phone?
“I was in sixth grade when I got my first cell phone. My hometown was Greenville, Florida. My sixth grade year I went to school over in Tallahassee, which is about an hour or so away, so my parents bought me a phone to kind of stay in touch and stay in contact and make sure they can keep up with my while I’m in school.”
Why did you wear No. 4 in college?
“My friend – he’s my older brothers best friend – he played over at Florida State and his senior year he wore number four and I pretty much looked up to him. He was one of my coaches back in high school also and I really looked up to him. It was all just a dedication basically to him and just appreciation to him also. I wanted to wear No. 4 because of him. Even with him back in high school he wore No. 1 and I also wore No. 1. I just kind of wanted to keep that going.”
How would you describe Virginia heat?
“This heat so far has been perfect. Compared to Florida this is nothing, especially northern Florida so I’ve been enjoying this so far. People been coming out saying it’s a little hot, but it doesn’t feel hot at all to me.”
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