With Roy Helu set to become a free agent, the Redskins may have a new 3rd down back in 2015. While I expect the Redskins to bring in a name or two via free agency or the draft, a good option may already be on the roster. Chris Thompson, when healthy, brings an electrifying combination of speed and agility to the table. Jay Gruden had much success with Giovanni Bernard in Cincinnati and while Thompson is a hair smaller than him, he has a similar skill set. When Roy Helu got injured this year, Thompson was finally able to put his skills on the field. In order to be a successful 3rd down back, a player needs to be able to run the ball inside and outside, he needs to be a pass-catching threat out of the backfield and above all else, he needs to be able to pass protect. I reviewed every snap Thompson took in 2014 and since pass protection is the most important trait, we'll be taking a look at Thompson's blocking.
#1. Against the Giants, Chris Thompson is going to come across the formation and help Jordan Reed block Damontre Moore on the outside.
Jordan Reed sets up and takes away the outside which opens up a large gap inside which Thompson shades towards.
Thompson gets his hands on Moore as well and Robert Griffin III lets go of the ball here with a clean pocket.
#2. Here's a straight 1-on-1 B-Gap blitz. Chris Thompson against Jameel McClain.
For only being 195 lbs, Thompson does a good job of setting up a solid base and bracing for impact with a LB who had a running start. Thompson doesn't budge.
McClain tries to use his hands to create separation and move Thompson but Chris keeps shuffling his feet and staying with the block.
McClain and Thompson end up battling into Chris Chester and his blocker and they block them both together. Well done.
#3. On the other hand, he dealt with a similar situation against the Eagles. Except this time, it's Mychal Kendricks coming up the A-gap.
I don't know if Thompson underestimated Kendricks speed or Kendricks is just that much stronger than McClain but Chris doesn't get as good a base as he had on the previous play.
The collision with Kendricks sends Thompson backwards.
Luckily, Griffin had a quick three step drop and the ball was out. Otherwise, Kendricks would have gotten his shot.
#4. Again, Thompson is going to come across the formation to block as the pass protection dictates. Casey Matthews ends up blitzing.
Thompson meets Matthews right in the hole not allowing him upfield. Chris has his head down here but a solid base.
Matthews uses his arms to extend and create separation.
But Thompson's quick feet allow him to shuffle and mirror Matthews around the bend.
Thompson washes him out of the play as Griffin eventually takes off.
#5. While this isn't pass protection, this will still illustrate Thompson's blocking. This is one of those plays that are catching fire around the league which sends three-to-four eligible receivers down the field to block while an isolated receiver from the opposite side catches a pass on a drag route. Essentially, an elaborate screen pass. Chris Thompson is going to go from the backfield all the way up to the 3rd level to block.
He uses his speed to get out there quick and is already engaged with his guy as Pierre Garcon catches the ball.
Even as Garcon is dragged down, Thompson is still engaged with his defender despite efforts to break free.
#6. Here is Chris Thompson lined up in the slot and he is going to block the CB on a WR screen to Pierre Garcon.
Thompson again uses his speed to get out to his block but it's controlled speed because he doesn't over run his guy. Meanwhile, the slot CB followed Thompson so that takes two guys out of the play at the start.
As Garcon is bouncing around tackles, the CB heads up field in order to disengage from Thompson who was holding his block well.
As Garcon is finally being brought down, Thompson has found someone else to block and is driving him into the end zone.
Thompson will never be confused with the biggest guy on the field but he certainly showed scrappiness in the film I watched. Despite being outweighed, he fights each time and shows great effort to get the job done. After 2014, finding guys who will compete is of utmost importance. It's a small sample size but not only did he fight, he appeared to understand his assignments as well which is a big part of the job. Check back later this week as I'll show what he did when he had the ball in his hands.