Redskins coach Mike Shanahan says he knows his Week 1 starter at running back, but that it's a "secret." He's still got it. The good news is, it appears Shanahan is deciding between Roy Helu and Evan Royster, as he praised each player's "tremendous progression" in pass protection on Saturday. Undrafted rookie Alfred Morris will certainly be in line for carries, however. Helu remains the highest upside fantasy own in Washington's backfield, but it's a situation worth avoiding if at all possible. Sep 1 - 5:35 PM Source: Redskins on Twitter
I thought this would be a mess and avoided this backfield like the plague. Releasing Hightower made it better but there are still 3 guys who have equal capability to get carries. My fear in owning them would be that Shanny starts one and then gives the carries to the hot hand. Too much to risk in my book
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Cowboys 4 life wrote:I thought this would be a mess and avoided this backfield like the plague. Releasing Hightower made it better but there are still 3 guys who have equal capability to get carries. My fear in owning them would be that Shanny starts one and then gives the carries to the hot hand. Too much to risk in my book
I don't see there being much risk as long as they are your RB5/6 and riding your pine. One or more of these dudes are going to hold some value at some point of the season. With the RB pool being so thin, I'm expecting there to be several RB starved players in numerous leagues once the injury bug hits. Not everyone is smart enough to realize that the Shananagames have commenced and even if they are, RB deprivation can make a man do crazy things.
Royster » With Tim Hightower unhealthy, Royster entered camp as the No. 1 back. The only reason he momentarily left that spot was because of a sore knee. Royster has excellent vision and makes decisive cuts. The inside zone runs fit him well because of this. He improved in pass protection and does a good job getting yards after contact (or did in his two starts last season). Royster's issue is speed and balance. Both prevented any runs over 28 yards last season. Yet it's tough to ignore his 5.9 yards per carry in 2011.
Morris » The rookie from Florida Atlantic emerged as one of the best stories in training camp. What he showed likely will transfer over to the regular-season games, too. His style of running -- low pad level, good body lean -- lends itself to positive gains. Indeed, in his 39 carries this summer he lost yards on only three carries -- and 20 gained at least 4 yards. He's not fast -- Morris ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds at the combine. But he anticipates pressure well, allowing him to make quick cuts.
But Morris struggled picking up the blitz. It's not a matter of desire or technique; it's a matter of recognition. In college he said he was responsible for only half the field. Here, he must pick up blitzes from both sides. Does Shanahan trust him yet in this role? It's a factor.
Helu » He's tough to figure. He looked like he could carry a heavy load during a four-game stretch in which he ran 96 times. But then he carried a combined four times in the next two games. And this season he already has dealt with sore Achilles tendons, limiting him to two preseason games (but 15 carries for 90 yards in the final one). It's hard to imagine him being ready for a full load.
But he also has the most flash of the three and therefore more long-run potential. Helu shakes more defenders, especially when he can get on the edge. He's better than the other two running the outside stretch zone as well as on screen passes. He was inconsistent in pass protection last season; the coaches say he has improved.
September 3, 2012 | 8:00 pm John Keim Staff Reporter - Washington Redskins The Washington Examiner
Alfred Morris just might be Mike Shanahan’s latest discovery By Jason Reid, Published: September 5The Washington Post
All you need to know about rookie running back Alfred Morris is that secretive Washington Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan has had little to say about him. And after watching Morris’s impressive work, there’s definitely a whole lot to discuss.
From the start of training camp, Morris wowed coaches and teammates with a running style that’s equal parts powerful and elusive. In the preseason, he was the Redskins’ most productive offensive player. Granted, Morris has shined during a mostly meaningless time on the NFL calendar. But what Morris does best should continue to work well now that the games matter. And in any case, his “look-at-me” performance would inspire most coaches to at least direct a little praise toward a low-round draft pick who already has beaten the odds by making the team’s opening-day roster.
Not Shanahan. He’s almost as good at concealing information as he is winning games when partnered with top-notch quarterbacks. Shanahan rarely tips his hand regarding his true opinion of players — especially newcomers about whom he’s truly excited.
“Well, I like him,” Shanahan said of Morris. “If I didn’t like him, he wouldn’t be on our football team.”
Knowing Shanahan, “like” probably doesn’t begin to describe it. After two years searching for a workhorse running back, Shanahan may have finally found one. There’s something about this hard-charging sixth-rounder that should stir excitement among Redskins fans. Shanahan’s low-key approach regarding Morris’s eye-opening start is straight from the playbook he used with another once-obscure sixth-rounder: Terrell Davis.