How RB Chris Thompson helps the Jacksonville Jaguars

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 13: Chris Thompson #25 of the Washington Redskins in action against the Miami Dolphins in the third quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 13: Chris Thompson #25 of the Washington Redskins in action against the Miami Dolphins in the third quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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What does the signing of former Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson signal for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020?

Former Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson is now a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, signing a one-year deal and rejoining offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

The news came ahead of the announcement by several sources that the team would not pick up the fifth-year option on Leonard Fournette’s rookie contract. By bringing in Thompson, they have added another player who is familiar with Gruden’s system. Tight end Tyler Eifert also signing with the team earlier in the offseason in free agency after working with Gruden in Cincinnati.

The move by the Jaguars adds a valuable pass-catching running back to go alongside Fournette and Ryquell Armstead.

In seven seasons, Thompson caught 212 passes for 1,772 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 11 games during the 2019 season, Thompson had 42 receptions for 378 yards.

Thompson excels in the screen game and provides relief for quarterbacks facing pressure and needing to get the ball out quickly. He has excellent burst once the ball meets his hands and is dynamic in the open field. He can fill the role that Corey Grant once had for the team during the 2017 season.

A problem for Thompson over the years is injury history, suffering a fibula fracture in 2017 along with a labrum tear in 2015. But if the former FSU star can stay healthy, his versatility as a third-down back will provide a valuable safety net for Gardner Minshew.

Fournette improved as a pass-catching option last season with 522 receiving yards but Thompson will provide some consistency in the passing game, especially while Fournette takes breathers on the sideline which was seen multiple times last season. Fournette served as the Jaguars third-down back in 2020. Thompson may take some snaps away from the team’s starter in obvious passing situations.

With Thompson catching over 70 percent of his targets, Fournette will not be as dependent on like in seasons past to carry the offense. Last season, the former LSU star accounted for over 20 percent of the team’s passing offense.

Now that Gruden is the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator, the offense will become more pass-oriented with a West Coast-style. There will be more short and intermediate pass plays where the ball gets out quickly and there will also be more use of play action. Thompson should be used to this as he spent 2014-2019 with Gruden as his head coach of the Redskins.

With the signing of Thompson and drafting of Laviska Shenault, it can be viewed that the Jacksonville Jaguars are trying to be versatile and keep opposing defenses off-balance on offense. The team scored just 18.8 points a game last season.

Next. Jaguars post-draft grades and analysis. dark

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