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Chris Thompson–Just One Play

Posted by Evan Redmon on August 29, 2013 – 12:55 pm

(AP Image)

(AP Image)

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.

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Williams Used Trusty ‘Rock’ In Tournament

Posted by Stephen Czarda on May 20, 2013 – 2:35 pm

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

Last week the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation sponsored a rock-paper-scissors tournament hosted by Playworks.

Playworks’ overarching mission is to improve the health and well-being of children through physical activity to include rock-paper-scissors.

Knowing the benefits the timeless hand game has had on himself and his family, Redskins running back and seasoned rock-paper-scissors player Keiland Williams threw his name into the hat to see if he was the best rock-paper-scissors player that day, but more importantly, to promote peaceful conflict resolution in schools.

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Welcome Back Keiland Williams

Posted by Andrew Walker on October 23, 2012 – 1:45 pm

(AP photo)

The Washington Redskins’ annual Homecoming festivities aren’t for another couple of games, but this week has proven to be a homecoming of sorts for at least two Redskins players.

On Monday, the team re-signed veteran tight end Chris Cooley, and today, the Redskins signed running back Keiland Williams, who last played with Washington during the 2010 season.

In a corresponding move, the Redskins released running back Ryan Grant.

Williams, who will wear No. 25 with the Redskins this time around, played 15 games in Washington in 2010, when he set career-highs in attempts (65), yards (261) and touchdowns (three). Williams is also a receiving threat out of the backfield, and has 49 career receptions for 380 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.

Read more »

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DY Breaks Down The Revamped RB’s

Posted by Christopher Mudd on September 24, 2011 – 4:37 pm

AP Image

By the end of last season, the Redskins running attack was spear-headed by fullback Mike Sellers, and running backs Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams.

Through the first two games, none of the aforementioned backs have seen offensive snaps, and Williams is no longer a member of the Redskins running back stable.

It’s amazing the difference nine months can make.

Two months ago, Darrel Young, Tim Hightower, and Roy Helu didn’t know each other.  Last Sunday, they rushed for a combined 172 yards, a feat that was accomplished only once all of last year.

Young, the bulldozer for the group, sees only one main difference.

“We believed,” he said simply.  “All week we talked about if we get the running game going, it opens up everything else.”

And it certainly did.  The offense’s 455 total yards against the Cardinals exceeded every regulation four-quarter output from last season, and led the way to their second victory on the season.

Even though Young is usually blowing holes in the defense for his running backs to run through, he still has an assessment of how they run.

“Y’know, Hightower’s aggressive guy, you can’t coach what he does,” he explained.  “And Helu–the things that we did coach, he did that–but the running style, that’s him.  We got two guys like that, and basically you got a two-headed monster.  You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Young made sure to note that the group got off to a “slow start” in the game against the Cardinals, and made no excuses for the performance. Read more »

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Bobby Turner Talks About The Current Running Backs

Posted by Matt Terl on April 21, 2011 – 2:01 pm

Redskins running back coach Bobby Turner recently sat down with Larry Michael for Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet. Shortly afterward, intern Brian Tinsman wrote about Turner’s approach to finding running backs in the NFL Draft; now he explains what the coach has to say about the guys who are currently on the roster. (You can watch the entire interview in three parts here, here, and here.)

by Brian Tinsman

Birds come in flocks, wolves come in packs, and running backs come in stables. Well, if that last one is true, then Redskins running backs coach Bobby Turner is the horse whisperer.

A coach long-renowned for getting the most out of his players, Turner didn’t mince words when he assessed the position with Larry Michael on Redskins Nation. Among other things, Turner addressed the need to add depth to the position this offseason.

But before looking ahead to the draft or free agency, he reviewed what the team already has.

Ryan Torain, the team’s primary back last season, has had a tough time staying on the field in his career. In his three seasons in Denver and Washington, Torain suited up for only 12 games, missing all of 2009 with injury.

“He has had a history, y’know, of being injured,” Turner said. “If he could have stayed healthy, better things could have happened to us.”

Turner has been Torain’s only running backs coach in the NFL, first with the Broncos and then following him to the Redskins. Over that time, Torain has had “a lot of freak things happen,” according to Turner.

Freaky indeed. In his rookie campaign in Denver, he dislocated and broke a bone in his elbow in training camp. After coming back midway through the season, he played only two games before tearing his ACL against Cleveland in Week 10, missing the rest of the season. He did not play at all in 2009 after being waived due to injury in training camp.

Despite only appearing in 10 games in 2010, starting eight, Torain gained a team-high 742 yards, at a 4.5 yard/carry clip. Not bad for a guy who started the year on the practice squad.

So what does he need to do to get better?

“Quite a few things,” Turner noted. “Number one is we’re never complacent, you know, we’re never content. We want to improve in every area.”

Turner cited a few specific spots where Torain needs to improve: Read more »

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Clinton Portis Had A Good Game On The Sidelines

Posted by Matt Terl on November 16, 2010 – 1:00 am

I’m starting with something positive. Call me Matty Sunshine if you want, but I heard exactly one positive story in the postgame locker room tonight, and I’m going with that one first. There’ll be plenty of negativity out there, and I promise I’ll get to covering some of that myself. But for right now, here’s the one nice story I heard from this absolute abomination of a game.

Keiland Williams would finish the night as the only player named on my Very Short List Of Good Things About This Game — with 139 total yards and 3 combined touchdowns — but he started it as the number two running back on a two-deep depth chart.

When Ryan Torain aggravated his hamstring injury during pregame warmups, that plan changed, and when the team came back into the locker room after warmups, head coach Mike Shanahan told Williams that he was going to be the guy.

That Williams had some success on the field is a small good thing, yes, but he was happy to share the credit, and that was the really nice story.

When I saw the inactive Clinton Portis pregame, he looked like this: Read more »

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Keiland Williams Is Not Satisfied

Posted by Matt Terl on November 4, 2010 – 3:33 pm

Lost in the drama of how the game ended — along with everything else that was not about the benching of Donovan McNabb — was the fact that Keiland Williams actually acquitted himself pretty well. Between his work on third downs and his work in relief of the injured Ryan Torain, Williams rushed the ball 6 times for 25 yards and a touchdown, and added 3 catches, albeit for an unremarkable 3 yards. The stats aren’t all that notable on the surface, but Williams contributed when the team needed him.

So, in Tuesday’s open locker room before the team dispersed for the bye week, I asked Williams how it felt to score his first NFL touchdown. Read more »

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Redskins Add Two RBs To Practice Squad

Posted by Matt Terl on October 6, 2010 – 2:05 pm

The Redskins announced today that they’ve signed two running backs to the practice squad, releasing linebacker Mike Balogun to make room. (The other space was vacated when Brandon Banks was signed to the active roster on Saturday.)

One of the faces is familiar: this marks the return of Keiland Williams, who was with the team through preseason and spent the first three games of the season on the active roster.

The other guy is Javarris James, who — if not entirely familiar — at least comes from a familiar school. James played his college ball at Miami, just like Clinton Portis (and Santana Moss, and Rocky McIntosh), and is also the cousin of former NFL running back Edgerrin James. So if pedigree means anything, James could be an interesting addition. (It doesn’t, necessarily, but it’s still worth noting.)

After the jump, a few of James’ college highlights: Read more »

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Keiland Williams Gets News About His Job From ESPN

Posted by Matt Terl on September 22, 2010 – 5:27 pm

Keiland Williams found out that his job status had changed the same way that many of you did: by watching the news of Larry Johnson’s release scroll across the bottom of ESPN.

“My initial reaction wasn’t, ‘Oh, hey, I’m moving up the depth chart!’,” Williams said today. “It was more like, ‘Oh my god.'”

This wasn’t the first time Williams had been surprised by his role on the Redskins, though. Read more »

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Keiland Williams and Ryan Torain Are Okay With Uncertainty

Posted by Matt Terl on August 25, 2010 – 5:06 pm

The Redskins preseason running back situation has simultaneously become clearer and muddier, despite how little sense that seems to make. Clinton Portis has demonstrated — both through what he has been able to do, and what the other backs haven’t — that he should be the unquestioned starter on this team. Larry Johnson disappointed somewhat in the Ravens game, but he’s eager to prove himself again and is asking for more playing time. Willie Parker is slated to be the starter and get the bulk of the work Friday night, which will go a long way toward clarifying where he winds up on the depth chart.

Keiland Williams and Ryan Torain, meanwhile, just have to keep doing the best they can and hope the chips fall their way, even though they currently have no idea what they’ll be asked to do Friday night, or how many opportunities they’ll get. And, really, they’re both fine with that.
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