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Get ready for running back by committee


Get ready for running back by committee

The folks at Pro Football Weekly are hearing whispers that Tim Hightower has the inside track to be the Redskins starting running back this year.They say that Roy Helu Jr will be a 10-15 snap player due to durability concerns and that Evan Royster lacks the speed to be anything but a situational back. Well look at those issues in a minute but first lets look at Hightower as a workhorse back.Coming into 2010, Hightower had carried the ball 14 or more times in a game six times during his three-year NFL career. In his first three games with the Redskins he carries 25, 20, and 14 times. A shoulder injury limited him to eight carries the next week and kept him out of the next game, which came after the bye week. That was the first game he had missed since coming into the league.In Week 7 he was on his way to another heavy workload with 17 carries before he suffered a torn ACL that ended his season.One could conclude that the Cardinals, his previous NFL team, was using him properly, starting him frequently (36 starts in three seasons in Arizona) but limiting his workload. With the caveat that five games is a small sample size and that the shoulder and knee injuries could happen to anyone, its possible that the Redskins gave Hightower too heavy a workload.The same could be true for Helu. He played over 50 snaps in each of the games from Weeks 12-15 and then had to sit out the Week 16 Vikings game with an assortment of ailments. He was limited to 11 snaps in the season finale against the Eagles. It looks like his workload should be limited but dropping him down to 10-15 snaps per game, as PFW suggests,Royster ran a pedestrian 4.64 in the 40 at the combine (compared to a 4.42 for Helu) so there is solid evidence to back up lack of speed rap. But he did have two 100-yard games in the last three weeks and he averaged 5.9 yards per carry. He many not have been running very fast last year but he was getting somewhere.What all of this means is that the era of the workhorse running back in Washington is over, at least for now. You have three backs all of whom have some skills but none of whom can be the prime back in the way that John Riggins, Clinton Portis, Stephen Davis, and others were.The running back committee will emerge either by choice or by circumstances. Last year Kyle and Mike Shanahan basically worked their backs until they couldnt go any more. That forced other backs into action.If they try that again this year, they are likely to have the same result. If they plan out a rotation they might have some more backs standing by the end of the year.Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at You can reach him by email here and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.

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The Redskins are reportedly hosting Adrian Peterson for a free agent visit

The Redskins are reportedly hosting Adrian Peterson for a free agent visit

After sustaining a number of injuries to their running back group, the Redskins need help at the position. 

In that quest, the team will bring in veteran Adrian Peterson for a free agent visit, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

Arguably one of the best all-time running backs in the NFL, Peterson not being on a roster at this point in the season might be a surprise. Last year, Peterson split time between New Orleans and Arizona and rushed for more than 500 yards. 

Peterson built his fame and name with a long run of success in Minnesota, including a 2,000-yard season in 2012. In 123 games with the Vikings spanning 10 years, he rushed for nearly 12,000 yards and 97 touchdowns. 

Washington is in serious need for depth and talent at RB. 

Rookie Derrius Guice went down for the season in the preseason opener, and last week Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall sustained injuries. 

At Sunday's practice, head coach Jay Gruden joked that his son, Jack, should take some practice reps at the position. 

Currently, the Redskins only have Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson and Kapri Bibbs as running backs on the roster, and Thompson hasn't played yet this preseason as he's working back from a broken leg last November.

The Redskins also worked out veteran runners Jamaal Charles and Orleans Darkwa. Peterson has the biggest name of all of them.

This offseason, Peterson also worked out with Redskins tackle Trent Williams.


For more analysis on Peterson's visit, check out this RB-oriented episode of Redskins Talk.

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Jamaal Charles headlines a group of Redskins running back tryouts

USA Today Sports

Jamaal Charles headlines a group of Redskins running back tryouts

Jamaal Charles used to be among the best running backs in the NFL, and maybe the Redskins hope to turn back the clock. 

Washington is dealing with a number of injuries at the running back spot, and to get through two more preseason games, the team is bringing in a number of veteran runners for tryouts. Charles is the biggest name coming in for a test drive with the Redskins, as ESPN reported. Former Giants RB Orleans Darkwa is also getting a tryout, per multiple reports. 

How did Washington get to the point where the team needs to add more backfield options in mid-August?

First, Derrius Guice injured his knee in the preseason opener. He will miss the season. 

In the second preseason game, Samaje Perine, Byron Marshall and rookie Martez Carter got hurt. Perine should be back in a week or as he suffered only a sprained ankle. Marshall could miss a month, making a roster spot flimsy, and Carter was waived due to his injury. 

That means the Burgundy and Gold only have Rob Kelley, Kapri Bibbs and Chris Thompson active for practice, and remember, Thompson is working back from a broken leg he suffered last November. He hasn't played yet in the preseason, and might not go at all until Week 1 in Arizona.

Add all of that together and the team was forced to bring in veteran options, if for nothing else than to get through the remaining two preseason games.

Back to Charles.

From 2009 to 2014, Charles put up absurd numbers. He approached 2,000 total yards from scrimmage in both 2013 and 2010, and put up more than 1,700 total yards in 2012. It's worth adding that Charles found great success with Alex Smith when both were playing in Kansas City. Just saying. He was undeniably great, and probably won thousands of people thousands of dollars as a fantasy football MVP.

That time appears to be over though.

In the last three seasons, injuries have robbed Charles of his burst and elusiveness. Last year, he couldn't break through in the Denver backfield despite being healthy for 14 games. He rushed for just under 300 yards. 

Redskins fans will have unfortunate memories of Darkwa.

In an ugly Week 17 loss last season in New York, he busted a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage and finished the game with 154 yards. Last season was the best of his career for Darkwa, he ran for more than 750 yards and averaged 4.4 yards-per-carry. He's only 26 years old and, coincidentally, played college football at Tulane with Rob Kelley

By adding Guice in the second round of the NFL Draft this spring, the Redskins thought they addressed their need for a talent boost at the RB position. With Guice out for the year, the position looks about the same as it did in 2017. 

Adding Charles and Darkwa seem unlikely to change that, at least significantly. And that's if either of the veteran runners even make the 53-man roster. 



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