As the 2013 Washington Redskins preseason continues to unfold, at the top of the surface lies an emerging war in the race for the primary backup running back spot between fellow 2011 draftees Roy Helu and Evan Royster.
According to Head Coach Mike Shanahan, both players are having solid camps, as evidenced by each of their performances in last Thursday’s preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans. Helu stepped up for 57 yards on 13 carries and Royster wasn’t too shabby himself, scampering for 62 yards on 14 rushing attempts.
For Helu, 2013 is a year of redemption. Beset by injury in 2012, Helu only managed a paltry two yards on the same amount of rushing attempts. Buoyed by a clean bill of health for the first time since his solid 2011 rookie campaign, Helu seems poised to step up and reclaim his role in the Redskins’ RB rotation this season.
With the rejuvenated Helu nipping at his heels, Royster has proven so far to be more than ready for the challenge, as indicated by his stellar preseason debut.
Of the two running backs, Helu is a better complement to starting RB Alfred Morris. Roy’s quickness and Alfred’s ruggedness serve as potential ingredients for the Redskins’ very own “Thunder and Lightning” running back tandem in 2013.
However, don’t discount the ability of Royster to step up as the team’s #2 runner this season.
Instead of Helu’s change of pace, Royster’s knack for running in between the tackles would serve as a continuation of pain to opposing defenses already suffering from the punishment of the bludgeoning, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead running approach courtesy of starter Alfred Morris.
Despite their different running styles, both Helu and Royster have the potential to contribute to the team’s rushing attack in their own distinct ways.
So, which running back will emerge victorious? I’ll go with Roy Helu. His breakaway running ability provides potentially a greater upside to the team’s rushing attack.
As good as Alfred Morris is, he’s lacking in the wheels department, as indicated with his longest run being only for 39 yards in 2012. Thus, Helu would provide a unique dimension to the running game with his big-play ability.
However, regardless of my opinion, judging by Mike Shanahan’s words and each of Helu’s and Royster’s actions so far, it’s going to be quite a battle, with both runners giving it their all in their quests for playing time in 2013.
Stay tuned, folks, because we have a heck of a training camp battle on our hands.