Meet Roy Helu Jr.’s new injury. It’s a lot like his old injury.
We found out last week that the second-year running back was not going to play against the Bears because of a strained Achilles. On Monday Mike Shanahan said that it is not sure if Helu will go against the Colts this Saturday because of a strained Achilles.
The other one.
“That’s not good news,” Shanahan said.
With the regular season opener coming in just under three weeks, the picture at running back for the Redskins is in disarray. It is possible that the roster will have to be juggled to accommodate the situation.
Tim Hightower, the presumed starter, is still recovering from a knee injury he suffered last October. Although Shanahan indicated that he could play against the Colts, Hightower has yet to participate fully in a practice in full pads.
With Helu hobbled, the only healthy holdover from last year’s stable of running backs is Evan Royster. He has looked good in limited action this preseason after he finished up his rookie 2011season with a couple of 100-yard games.
It is going to be difficult for the Redskins to keep four running backs when they cut the roster to the final 53 on Aug. 31. But if Helu and Hightower are questionable for the season opener on Sept. 9 they may be forced to find a way.
The beneficiary in such a scenario like would be rookie Alfred Morris. He is leading the team in rushing during the preseason and has shown an aggressive running style that has made him a fan favorite.
He is very much a rookie, however. Against the Bears he went into a pass pattern instead of staying in to block a blitzing cornerback. The ensuing chain of events resulted in Griffin fumbling the ball deep in Chicago territory.
But if Hightower and Helu remain question marks going into the New Orleans the Redskins may be forced to rely on Morris to help carry the load early in the season. That would require some juggling of roster spots such as going with eight offensive linemen instead of nine or perhaps going short somewhere on defense.
The Redskins will play their last two preseason games in a four-day span, going up against the Colts on Saturday and the Bucs the following Wednesday. We should have a better idea about the running back situation after that.