Mike Shanahan has always been known as a no-nonsense coach.
So when a rookie running back fumbles the football in consecutive preseason games, it doesn’t bode well for his chances. Shanahan has little tolerance for turnovers by his ball carriers.
Chris Thompson probably knows that as well as anyone. So when the fifth round pick out of Florida State put the ball on the turf against the Buffalo Bills last Saturday, he had to know that he needed to redeem himself.
And that’s the magic of the preseason. One play can change the fortunes–literally–of a player in an instant.
Flash back a few weeks ago to the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond. At one of Shanahan’s many press conferences, he was asked why Thompson wasn’t practicing on a particular day. The coach said Thompson had some nagging foot soreness and looked “sluggish”.
That’s a coach’s way of saying ‘I’m not too thrilled about his performance so far’.
Then came Thompson’s two fumbles; one against Pittsburgh and again the next week against Buffalo. With the roster cuts looming, this is not how a rookie wants to make an impression.
In the preseason however, guys are looking for “just one play” to turn the coach’s heads. Thompson made such a play, and fate may have intervened on his behalf.
With the 3rd quarter winding down, Thompson fielded a Sean Powell punt in stride at the Redskins 39 yard line and shot forward like flash of lightening, eliciting gasps and cheers from the FedEx faithful. Thirty-one yards later, Thompson had set up the Skins well into Buffalo territory, and fellow running back Keiland Williams capped the short drive off with a 1-yard touchdown.
Thompson also had a 27-yard kickoff return earlier in the game.
Sometimes, a bit of unfortunate news to a fellow teammate opens a door. When it was determined that presumed No. 1 punt returner Richard Crawford will need season-ending surgery on his left knee, the door to Thompson’s future suddenly blew wide open after impressing everyone on that punt return.
Some say luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Chris Thompson made the most of his opportunity in “just one play”, and he may have made the Redskins final roster in the process.
Tags: chris thompson, keiland williams, mike shanahan, Redskins preseason, Redskins vs. Bills, Richard Crawford
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