Roy Helu Jr. working to control emotions as Thursday’s game approaches

August 7, 2013

Roy Helu Jr. wonders what would happen if he could stay healthy. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

RICHMOND – While the Redskins’ offense took a significant leap forward from sputtering unit to potent attack, Roy Helu Jr. refused to let himself wonder, “what if?”

As impressive as the Robert Griffin III/Alfred Morris-led offense was, Helu’s abilities as a speedy, versatile threat out of the backfield could have made the Redskins even harder to stop.

But Helu – sidelined for the bulk of the season with toe and Achilles’ tendon injuries – didn’t dwell on that, and he didn’t even let himself imagine what the following year would hold. Instead, he focused on the baby steps required in his journey back to health.

“My focus was really, ‘What can I do to get better this day, and this season of rehabilitation?’ Because I just saw it as everything as a season of I’m rehabbing, then I’m working out, then I’m moving onto camp,” Helu said. “So, I didn’t get too far ahead, for sure.”

Helu also has tried not to focus on Thursday’s preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans, which will represent the first game he has played in 320 days. Helu admits excitement over his return to game action. But he believes patience will help him avoid a miscue in practice and ineffectiveness in Thursday’s game.

“It’ll be really exciting,” Helu admitted. “Definitely, it’ll be one of those things where I need to taper back my mindset to ‘We have practice today. And then we have meetings later today,’ and I need to focus on those things, because, it’s easy having being gone this long and when you’re competing against people to look forward to Thursday, but who knows what will happen between now and then.”

It remains to be seen exactly how the Redskins will use Helu in Thursday’s game, and how much of their playbook they will delve into in an exhibition game. But most likely, the team will stick with a vanilla attack. Still, Helu will have the opportunity to play once again, and show his capabilities as a runner and pass-catcher.

Thursday’s performance will serve as the foundation for a comeback campaign that the Redskins and Helu hope boost them further up the offensive rankings.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @D3Keith @Insider | @PostSports

What’s ahead:

● Wednesday, the team has a walk-through, preparing for Thursday’s preseason opener in Tennessee.

● Later this afternoon, we check in with cornerback Chase Minnifield.

● Camp in Richmond resumes Saturday. If you’re headed there, check our our guide to training camp for tips on getting autographs, where to park and things to do after the session is over.

More on the Redskins and NFL:

Tom Compton’s duties on the offensive line expand

Rookies in secondary will be in spotlight Thursday night  | All Insider posts

DE Kedric Golston is always there for the Redskins

Observations from Tuesday’s practices | Previous days’ observations

D.C. Sports Bog: Snyder says Richmond has been ‘spectacular’ | More Bog & Redskins

The Early Lead: ‘Butt fumble’ guard spurns Cowboys | Around the NFL

Training camp photo galleries: Aug. 3 to present | Start of camp through Aug. 2

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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Roman Stubbs · August 7, 2013

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