Redskins quarterback Alex Smith had a career year in Kansas City last season, thanks in part to sharing an offense with two of the NFL’s best playmakers at their positions, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. Smith also benefited from the emergence of rookie running back Kareem Hunt, who rushed for 1,327 yards and caught 53 passes for the sixth-highest scoring team in the league.
Third-down running back Chris Thompson will provide an obvious pass-catching option out of the backfield for Smith in Washington, but the veteran QB also has raved about the dual-threat ability of Redskins rookie running back Derrius Guice.
“I didn’t know anything about him when we drafted him,” Smith told SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan of Guice on Monday during the hosts’s training camp tour visit to Richmond. “You hear all this nonsense, I guess, that’s out there. The kid has a smile on his face 24/7. He loves playing ball, he loves being out there. Then to be honest, I don’t feel like there’s a real weakness in his game. Pass game, protection, certainly he can run the ball. I feel like he does a heck of a job in protections, I feel like in the pass game he’s a weapon as well. So, I’m excited for him. Certainly as a running back, I think those guys really get to shine when we get the pads on and it goes live, and they can show breaking tackles and open-field stuff. … I think he’s got a lot ahead of him.”
Guice, who slipped to the second round in the draft due to rumors about his maturity, has shown flashes of his versatility during camp. On Sunday, he made a catch along the sideline before turning up field and leaving his defenders in the dust.
“I’ve got some hands,” said Guice, who has been touting his receiving ability since the NFL Combine. “Catching has always been natural. Even though we didn’t do it much at LSU, and I kind of had to defend myself a lot, telling everybody that I could catch. It’s just one of those things you got to go through. Now that I’m here, I can show everybody that I can do both.”
Guice made only 32 catches in three seasons at LSU, including 18 as a junior last year. Thompson, who has been limited in practice while he continues to work his way back from a knee injury that cost him the final six games of last season, led all Redskins running backs with 39 catches on 54 targets in 2017.
“I feel like he’s kind of like the new era of running backs that’s coming around the league,” Smith said of Thompson. “I think the league is finally seeing how valuable these guys are. To be able to come in and be out of the backfield, a weapon like he is, not only in the run game, but in the pass game. [He’s] truly a difference maker on the field, and I think for the league, you’ve kind of seen the value of these types of guys that can do a lot of different things. I don’t know if there’s anybody out there that can do it better than him. I’ve been watching a lot of film the past two years, and the plays he makes, both in the run and pass game, it’s ridiculous. … We’ve been kind of easing him back. I’m anxious to take the reins off and let him loose.”
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