Redskins running back Evan Royster was born in Fairfax and attended high school at Westfield in Chantilly, so he had plenty of family and friends around for the holidays. Though he hasn’t yet studied tape of his breakout performance against Minnesota Saturday, his family made sure to have a replay of the game going during Christmas dinner, he said.
“I didn’t pay too close attention to it,” Royster said. “I know my mom was, because she was trying to get me to watch every play.”
Royster might have a difficult time matching last week’s 132-yard outing when the Redskins visit Philadelphia for the season finale this Sunday. Though the Redskins are expected to carry only two running backs into the game, fellow rookie Roy Helu says he should be healthy enough to return to the lineup.
Royster started for the first time in his career last week when coaches decided just a couple of hours before kickoff that Helu was too banged up to play.
Royster said Wednesday morning he’s not sure how much he’ll be used against the Eagles.
“It depends on how Roy is and how much they want him to play still… They haven’t said anything yet,” he said.
Despite his strong game, Royster said he doesn’t expect to leap-frog over Helu on the depth chart. Helu has topped 100 yards in three of his past four outings.
“Roy’s had good games, too,” he said. “It’s just about going out there and competing again this week.”
Coaches and teammates say Royster and Helu are similar but different. Helu is a good fit in a one-cut system and has breakaway speed. Rex Grossman described Royster as more of a “gliding” runner. The rookie out of Penn State showed last weekend he’s patient and tough to bring down.
“I might not be the fastest guy on the field, but I can break a couple tackles and make it hard on a defense,” he said.
It’s been an interesting season for Royster, the Redskins’ sixth-round draft pick. He was waived following the preseason and was on the practice squad until November.
“It’s been a roller coaster. My emotions have been up and down,” he said. “At the beginning of the season, I was kind of disappointed I was cut. But at the same time I just needed to come out and work every week. I did and it paid off.”
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