Chris Thompson is out to prove to everyone that last year's late-season injury was a thing of the past. Tuesday was a great step in the right direction, seeing as the back was inserted heavily into the rotation, getting a lot of short and screen passes thrown in his direction during 7-on-7 drills and in red zone situations.
Before fracturing his right fibula in Week 11 of last season, Thompson was on track to enjoy career numbers in carries, rushing yards, and receiving yards as Kirk Cousins's primary target. Thompson's recovery up to this point has been encouraging, especially considering he has a plate and five screws in his leg.
Head coach Jay Gruden, when asked Wednesday morning, said Thompson looks great and that his burst is 100 percent.
But Thompson is just like any other NFL player – he's trained himself to have a short memory when it comes to any negatives. Even he knows that with an injury of this gravity, it's always going to be on the back of his mind during the recovery process.
"To me, this one by far is the worst that I've had to go through because I got to a point where I was able to start jogging and the first time I got on the treadmill, I was nervous to put any pressure [on it]," Thompson said. "I'm still nervous about just making cuts, I'm nervous about what happens if this guy falls and hits my ankle. I know it's healed, I know the plate is there, so I don't have to worry about it breaking but it's a big mental game."
Throughout the past few days of camp, the coaching staff has done a good job of working Thompson into the first-team rotation with the expectation being that he will be ready to play Week 1. Thompson, who finished Tuesday catching short yardage passes, explains that his limited rep count is all a part of the plan and that there's no cause for concern.
"As far as out here, it's just they're going to have me doing a couple plays in each period and just going by how I feel," Thompson said. "They have it set now with what I'm going to do and then I make it through this week, then I'll get ready to prepare for New England [Patriots] and go through those practice days. Maybe that next week I'll be putting in some full days of practice and then go from there."
The Washington Redskins conducted their fifth day of training camp practice Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
When dealing with an injury, one of the best morale boosters is looking to someone else in the locker room that's going through a similar battle. For Thompson, that person has been perennial Pro Bowler Trent Williams
"It's just all mental, man," Thompson said. "It's one of those things, Trent [Williams] came in and he did drills with us in OTAs. Look, to me, he looks quicker and faster than he has been before. That's how I was today. It's that; he may be feeling good and he's going to have days where he's going to be sore. That's just a part of getting back into it. Just trying to fight that mental hump and just believe in yourself like I'm healed, and I know I'm going to get better. Just taking it day by day."
If Thompson can return to form and be the player that he was last season, the Redskins will be a team to watch in the NFC. He's "trusting the process" so-to-speak, and knows that the contact he's getting in preseason doesn't compare to what he'll receive at season's start.
"I am not looking forward to it, but I know I've got to do it," the running back said. "I know I'm going to be super nervous about it. But once I get that first hit, whether it's in preseason or the first game, I know I'm going to be good out there."