Redskins Camp Battles: Running Back


Jan 6, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris (46) carries the ball against the Seattle Seahawks during the NFC Wild Card playoff game at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

When the Redskins drafted tight end Jordan Reed with their second overall pick, a lot of fans were left dumbfounded. That later changed when the Redskins decided to draft two running backs.

Running back could turn out to be one of the deepest positions for the Redskins depending on the health of two players, but that’s easier said than done. Chris Thompson is coming off his second ACL tear, along with previous back problems which nearly ended his collegiate career, and Roy Helu still seems to have those everlasting Achilles injuries which sent him to IR last year.

That doesn’t include the other six running backs currently listed on the Redskins depth chart. While that’s not a big surprise for a Mike Shanahan team headed into training camp, as competition is one of the major push factors, the majority of those six guys could make the team.

Heading into the 2013 Training Camp, Alfred Morris is the expected starter after his spectacular rookie season which lead to the breaking of the All-Time Redskins Rushing Record, previously held by Clinton Portis.

August 29, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running back Roy Helu Jr. (29) runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 30-3. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Not only has Alfred Morris not missed a step, he’s also shed some weight according to reports, making him even more dangerous in this system. It will be tough for the rookies and veterans to take his job away, but as we’ve seen before, no job is given by Shanahan, you earn it.

Roy Helu, the player most felt would start for the Redskins in 2012, found himself on the IR before the third game of the season due to his nagging Achilles which have been giving him problems since college.

If Roy Helu cannot overcome the ability to keep his Achilles strong, this could be his last time in a Redskins uniform, as the candidates behind him are now too strong to hold off. He appears to be coming back better than first thought, but much like Malcolm Kelly, nothing is definite.

Evan Royster managed to rush the ball a few times in 2012, but nothing to suggest he’d be the man behind Alfred Morris heading into the 2013 season. While Royster has always had the elusive cutback found in Shanahan running backs, his speed is one thing that could come back to bite him with the rookies behind him.

Sept 15, 2012; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back Chris Thompson (4) runs the ball up the field during the first half of the game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Thompson is one of the names to watch for, as he has deadly speed and cutbacks, which could turn this offense into an even more lethal weapon. The speed of Thompson and bruising of Alfred Morris could return a duo to Washington that was last seen during the 80’s with John Riggins and Joe Washington. If anyone can push Alfred Morris out of the way, it’s Thompson, the only question is how his ACL will hold up.

Jawan Jamison will have to do the most work in Training Camp if he plans on making the third string spot, as he ideally will be fighting with Evan Royster, Roy Helu, Tristan Davis, Ike Williams, and Keiland Williams.

Jamison has a similar mold to that of Roy Helu, except his injury problems aren’t nearly as long. He has decent speed, but the ability to cause miss tackles might be his greatest asset. If he’s in the open field, odds are he’s going to take it to the house.

May 5, 2013; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins running back Jawan Jamison (47) runs with the ball during rookie minicamp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor running back, Ike Williams, who has a strong connection with Robert Griffin III and his style of play could find himself a spot on the practice squad, as he’s fast, but might not have the vision yet to play in the NFL. There’s work to be done with Williams, but he does have the skill level to play in the NFL.

Keiland Williams has played for Mike Shanahan before in 2010, where he rushed for 261 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately for Keiland, and Davis as well, the men in front of them are just too good and will probably push them both out of any starting job in Washington.

Tristan has found himself a home on the reserved list the last couple of seasons, and the Redskins did carry a second RB on the practice squad, so to say their time in Washington is completely over would be incorrect.

Running back could have the biggest competition during Training Camp this year, the only other squad that could come close might be defensive line.

Don’t be surprised to see Morris, Thompson and Helu/Jamison (depending on health) as the starters this season.