Tim Hightower and Roy Helu showed last week that they have the capability of forming a rather dynamic duo at running back for the Washington Redskins. That creates an additional challenge for defenses, according to Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware.
At 6 feet, 222 pounds, Hightower is slightly bigger than the 5-11, 216-pound Helu. But the rookie is slightly faster, boasting 4.42-second speed in the 40-yard dash.
After scouting both running backs on film, however, Ware said that Hightower and Helu aren’t a “thunder and lightning” type of running back tandem. Instead, both can hurt a team in nearly the exact same way.
“Those two guys, it’s weird, but they run the same way,” Ware said. “They know how to cut back, they know how run those screen plays, they’re fast, real scat-backs, but they’re those bruiser backs, too.”
In Week 1, the Redskins gave Hightower 25 of the team’s 26 carries. Last Sunday, Hightower ran the ball 20 times, and Helu carried the ball 10 times. They combined for 170 rushing yards. Hightower had a catch for 10 yards, and Helu had three receptions for 38 yards.
Originally against the Cardinals, the plan was for Helu to simply give Hightower a breather in the second half. But the rookie did so well that coaches continued to feed him the ball. Later in the half, he and Hightower rotated in and out as the Redskins wore down Arizona’s defense.
Ware said two interchangeable backs like Hightower and Helu help a team tremendously.
“To have a guy come in and he gets a little tired, and then to have that second back comes in and runs the same way and even stronger, that’s the problem” for the defense, he said.