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Running Back Chris Thompson - September 1, 2020

(On his reaction to the yesterday's news that RB Leonard Fournette was released from the team) "Yeah, we were shocked about it. He came in the room a couple of minutes before our team meeting and let us know that he had gotten released. We didn't believe it. We thought he was joking because, you know, he laughs and jokes with us all the time. It wasn't really until [Head] Coach [Doug] Marrone said it in the team meeting that we really believed it. It was a shocker for everybody. The mood was just different that day, or different yesterday at practice but you know, it's the NFL and we just have to rock with the decision that's being made."

(On what he's seen from younger backs such as Devine Ozigbo, James Robinson, and Ryquell Armstead) "I've liked just looking at their skill sets. They're guys that, in my opinion, I think they can do a little bit of everything. They're good pass catchers. They can run routes pretty good and their vision is amazing, especially James [Robinson]. I think he's one of those guys to me, in my opinion, [that] probably has the best vision out of all of us and it's been great to see a young guy like that be able to come in and be able to make the plays and hit the holes that he's been able to hit. I'm excited. I'm excited for all [of] the guys. Nate [Nathan Cottrell], he's the fastest running back that we have right now so I'm excited for him and his future. Ryquell [Armstead] and Zig [Devine Ozigbo], they're both guys that were here last year and now with Leonard [Fournette] not being here, they're going to be able to get a lot more opportunities. From what I saw, from what Rock [Ryquell Armstead] did last year and Zig, especially in that last game against the Colts, I think they have a lot of potential [that] we're going to see here moving forward."

(On the most difficult thing in the transition to Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden's offense this year) "I think for a lot of those guys, it's more so been the terminology. It's hard for guys, especially young guys that were in the offense last year, the two guys as rookies, and now just having to forget everything that you learned last year and try to learn something totally new. For us, especially as running backs, we try to do everything we can to relate words and phrases and run plays to what we know already or what we've been taught before. That transition for some guys is, I feel like, was kind of difficult at first in the beginning. I have a certain way that I've learned Jay's offense. The running backs that were here last year and Coach Robiskie learned their offense a little bit of a different way as far as which key words and stuff to listen to, so I've been able to help those guys with those details. Being able to try to make it [easier], for me, I think just try to make it easier for those guys. Then, when Coach Robiskie has questions, I'll pretty much say everything I can answer without him even having to ask Coach Gruden because I've been around him for a long time so I feel like I've been able to help them even on the run. When we're putting it in plays this morning to go outside and run, Coach Robiskie asks me sometimes, "What is this play? What do you got on this?" Then, I'm able to break it down and give them the details about the route or the run play or whatever. It's been cool for me. It's almost like I can be a mini coach so I'm coaching up the young guys as well and that's something I think I want to do once I get out. It's been fun. It's been a nice experience for me."

(On his thoughts on how the Jaguars organization has approached social justice efforts) "Honestly, I've loved it. I've loved everything that this organization has done. Early on, when we started our meetings, one thing we did was the march and I was able to meet a lot of guys then because we weren't able to do OTA's and mini-camp and stuff. To have the only minority owner [Shad Khan] in the league has been great to get a different outlook on things. Being able to have him in meetings sometimes, just talking to us, and seeing the way he thinks and where he came from to get to where he is; I think it's all been amazing. I'm glad we [have done this], as well as all the other teams in the league. Especially, I'm going to call out the [Baltimore] Ravens because I've seen what they did over the last couple days. That's huge what they've been able to do. It's things like that that we've been talking about as far as just helping our community and in the future, try to make it national, try to make it a national thing and [then] be able to maybe get to [Washington] D.C. and talk to them about some things. I'm excited that all the sports leagues are doing these things and getting into something different because politics is something we're always told to stay away from and just stick to being athletes. But, we're more than that and I'm glad that we have our owners and management just having our backs in this situation and the tough times that we're not going through it but our people are having to deal with somethings right now. I'm just happy to see everything that's been going on."

(On what he is going to bring as runner in the season opener versus the Colts) "You know, hopefully, I'm able to do everything that I possibly can and maybe even get more running opportunities when we get here and play the Colts in, I think, twelve days or so. With Leonard [Fournette] being out, we just all, as a group, we just don't know how those things are going to work out. In 2017, I was kind of in a similar situation where I had to take a bulk, or a load, of the carries and/or I'll just say the plays in the game. For me, I thought it worked out well up until my injury so I'm excited for the opportunity if it's there. You know I've been a running back; I've been running the ball all my life so it's not something that I can't do. It's just a choice that, since I've been with Jay [Gruden] for so long and I've had some nicks and bruises here there, he's just wanted to protect me because I'm one of the guys that he doesn't want to miss games. So, for him, I think he feels like, "Hey, if I can just keep him in the pass game, if I can keep him in the open field, then I can keep him healthy." But we'll see. I think only time will tell. At this point, they haven't really discussed anything with us just yet."

(On how the running back room is viewing the opportunity following the departure of RB Leonard Fournette] "I mean that's one thing that we have to do. We have to, for one, just deal with it and that situation. From there, we have to go back to work. For me, I have to be one of those guys, since I'm the oldest one in the room, to be able to tell these guys like, "Hey, this is unfortunate. I didn't want him to leave here. I was really getting to know him and just having fun just being around him everyday and getting to know who he truly is and his background and everything." But, [I'm] just letting those guys know that these things happen and we didn't know what decisions were going to be made here in the next couple of days [since] we have to cut [the roster] down to fifty three. You just have to roll with the punches, and we all have a job to do. So, we just have to go out and do our jobs to the best of our ability. Whatever decisions they make upstairs, it's not in our control. We can control what we do out there on that field [and] what we do in the meeting rooms and that's it." 

(On his mindset knowing his snap count is about to change) "I think for me, I'm excited about it. I would say I am. I think there's going to be more opportunity for me and to be able to show what I can do [and] be able to show the fanbase and the people that brought me here what I'm capable of doing. As far as some of the young guys as well, I think it's going to be a big opportunity for them. We have two guys in their second year and then two rookies that's fighting for jobs and they're going to be out on that field playing a lot more than they have. With Zig [Devine Ozigbo] and Ryquell [Armstead], they're going to be playing a lot more this year. I'm excited for the opportunities. Every single day I just get myself as ready as I possibly can, as far as the way that I practice [and] the way that I condition after practice, because anything can happen at anytime or injuries happen. That's just part of the game so you never know. You can't sit back and say, 'Hey, Leonard is going to be the guy. He's going to take all [of] the reps or whatever' and then something like this just happened and it shocked all of us. So, for me [and] the way I prepared, the decision came as a shock, but the opportunity, not so much."

(On preparing the rookies for the final days of cuts as a veteran player) "I've just been talking to them. The best thing is just knowing that you can only control what you do out there on field. Then, on top of that, it's all about your work consistency and how you handle pressure. I feel like some of the guys today, they were put in some situations where they were taking a lot more plays. The rookies were taking a lot more plays and stuff today and coming off the field a bit tired, as expected. But I was just telling them like, 'Hey, this could be the situation that were in. This could be you on Sunday or next Sunday when we play. You could be in for a couple [of] games so they're trying to see how you can handle that if they have to make you the guy type deal.' I think they've been handling it well. One of the guys said this morning, 'I just want to know what's going to happen. I just want to know where I stand' and I was like, 'Bro, you can't control it. You just have to wait. You have to let it happen. Whatever you've been doing, you just continue to do it and be consistent and they're going to make those decisions. You can't change their minds about it regardless.' I know it's something that they're nervous about, but it will all work out for them."