- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 5, 2016

When the Washington Redskins signed veteran running back Pierre Thomas, they did so thinking that Chris Thompson would be out for the season because of a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

Thompson missed two games, but returned for the final two games of the regular season. Rookie running back Matt Jones has been inactive the last two games because of a hip injury, but hopes to be ready for the Redskins‘ wild card round game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

That leaves coach Jay Gruden with the difficult decision of narrowing down the group of Jones, Thompson, Thomas and Alfred Morris to three for Sunday’s game.

“We’re going to have to wait and see, check out the injury report,” Gruden said on Monday. “Chris Thompson has a little bit of an injured toe. See how Matt Jones is doing with his hip, make sure he’s 100 percent. We’ll probably have to make a tough decision if we’re only going to go with four running backs. [Fullback Darrel Young] will be one of them, and then we’ll decide on the other three later on.”

Jones was inactive in the Redskins division-clinching win against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16, and Thomas stepped in a big way to fill the void. He caught seven passes for 67 yards and rushed four times for 22 yards.
After that game, Gruden was asked if Thomas‘ performance forced him to rethink the rotation at running back.

“I think Pierre has been a solid back in the NFL for a long time,” Gruden said on Dec. 31. “He brings a wealth of experience. The thing you like about Pierre is there’s really nothing he can’t do. He can run between the tackles. He can run outside. He’s great in pass protection and catching the football, obviously, he proved that, so it just added another guy to the mix. When Chris got injured, originally, we thought it was a season-ender with the labrum, but he came back. Now, we just added another back to our rotation which kind of muddies it up a little bit, but you know, having too many good backs is a good thing.”


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Morris rushed for 100 yards against the Cowboys on Sunday, while Thomas and Thompson aided in complimentary roles. Thompson rushed seven times for 19 yards and Thomas had seven carries for 30 yards. Thomas also caught one pass for five yards.

When Thompson and Jones were injured, the Redskins‘ backfield was certainly less crowded. Now that the group is getting healthier, the picture is less clear. Either way, the team is confident in whoever dresses against the Packers.

“All I want to do is just win games at this point,” Thompson said last week. “Numbers-wise, if we are all healthy, somebody will be down, but we have no doubt whether it’s me or Pierre that’s dressing, he’s a veteran guy, been around for a long time, we all trust him and he trusts us. It’s a real good problem to have. We don’t have any selfish guys in our backfield, so it’s just one of those things, whoever in the game, we’re cheering them on.”

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