Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said talent and production will decide who he selects as his No. 2 running back, and that style doesnâ€™t carry much importance.
Alfred Morris returns as Washingtonâ€™s unquestioned starter a year after he came out of nowhere to rush for a franchise single-season record 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns as a rookie. But the Redskins entered the offseason looking to upgrade the depth at that position.
With Morris standing out as a bruising runner, the popular belief is that Washington could use a change-of-pace back with a different style â€“ speed and pass-catching ability â€“ to help keep defenses off balance and make the offense more explosive, while also ensuring Morris (who logged 335 carries last season) remains fresh.
And the team already has third-year pro Evan Royster â€“ a smooth runner who picks up yardage in chunks, but lacks breakaway speed.
Fellow 2011 draftee Roy Helu Jr. returns to action after missing the bulk of the 2012 season with Achillesâ€™ tendon and toe injuries. If healthy, his speed and pass-catching ability would seem to complement Morris well.
Fourth-year back Keiland Williams excelled as a third-down back for Washington as a rookie and rejoined the team midway through last season. Tristan Davis â€“ a solid yet unflashy back who was a member of the practice squad in 2011 and injured for all of last season â€“ also is a part of the competition.
While some are more similar than others, none of the backs behind Morris have identical games, which could be a good thing. Shanahan said that doesnâ€™t matter, however. He simply wants a backup that can offer similar production to Morris.
â€śMy main thing is thereâ€™s no absolutes in anything,â€ť the offensive coordinator said. â€śThere are some ideal situations you would like. My main thing is, if Alf is not in there, I want the best running back whoâ€™s not Alf in there. I donâ€™t care â€“ he doesnâ€™t have to be his exact opposite. Just â€™cause Alfâ€™s a guy who runs hard and stuff, doesnâ€™t mean that we have got to go get a guy whoâ€™s just fast and different than him. I want the best back, the second best back in who is not Alf if weâ€™re running the ball. You can get some guys who can isolate maybe in the pass game a little different and use them a little differently, but when youâ€™re spelling a guy, you want a guy who comes in and moves the chains and does the exact same things he does and we can keep those same yards per carry and stay on the field.â€ť
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