Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said rookie running back Roy Helu, who was limited by knee and toe injuries all week, was tested out before Saturday’s game and couldn’t push off without pain and so the decision was made to sit him against the Vikings.

Shanahan praised Evan Royster’s production and said between Helu, Royster and Tim Hightower, the Redskins have great depth at running back.

Shanahan said he doesn’t know why Ryan Torain has struggled so much this season. The coach said that Helu and Royster have taken advantage of their opportunities more than Torain has.

Shanahan said the defensive front had its poorest showing of the season against the Vikings.

Shanahan said he sees a big difference in the Redskins now compared to two years ago, although they will have at least 10 losses for a third straight year. The coach said improved youth and depth are among the biggest differences. He said the team still needs a good draft and free agency to take another step forward.

Shanahan acknowledged that it’s taken longer to turn things around than he expected. The coach thought the team’s depth was better than what it was when he first took over.


Stallworth has stepped in, stepped up

Lorenzo Alexander: ‘Same old story’

Redskins vs. Vikings: Five observations

Redskins suffer sixth straight home defeat