The Redskins may or may not see a familiar face when they take on the Giants on Monday night.
The Giants were short at running back with Andre Brown out with a broken leg and so they signed Ryan Torain to a contract.
Torain was the Redskins’ leading rusher in 2010 with 742 yards on 164 carries. He was just 24 and, more importantly, he had only 15 NFL carries’ worth of wear and tear on his body when he came to the Redskins as a free agent. It looked like the Redskins were set at the position for the next few years.
But apparently Mike Shanahan didn’t think so. He drafted two running backs, Roy Helu Jr. and Evan Royster, in the 2011 draft and traded for Cardinals running back Tim Hightower just as training camp started.
Torain didn’t help himself by suffering a broken hand in non-contact work early in camp. That sidelined him for most of August and bolstered his reputation for being injury prone. By the time he was well enough to play, Hightower was established as the starter.
Torain got his first carries of the season in the Redskins’ fourth game of the season and he made the most of it as he picked up 135 yards on 19 carries. But even after Hightower was lost for the season with a knee injury, rookies Helu and Royster got most of the carries. Torain didn’t gain more than 22 yards rushing in a game the rest of the year and he was released just before the end of the season.
Torain’s phone didn’t ring as teams went through OTA’s, minicamps, and training camp. He finally landed with a team this week when the Giants tried him out and then signed him after Brown’s injury.
“I was kind of really surprised that he was on the street as long as he was,” said Mike Shanahan. “I think the one thing he’s going to look for, is a guy that can make people miss, a guy that can carry the football and he’s a great kid.”
Torain was confident that he would eventually get another chance. “[I] just had to be patient with it at home and stay focused,” he said.
He spent two seasons with Mike and Kyle Shanahan in Washington and spent his rookie year with Mike in Denver after he was a fifth-round pick of the Broncos in 2008 so he normally might be expected to provide some inside information on the Redskins’ offense to his new team.
However, the Redskins’ offense in 2012 has been so radically revamped to take advantage of the unique skills of Robert Griffin III that it bears only some resemblance to the scheme in which Torain worked.
“No,” said Torain when asked about the possibility of him giving tips on the Washington offense. “We all watch film. We all see what they can do.”
There is a distinct possibility that Torain will be watching the game from the sidelines. Brown played special teams for the Giants while Torain does not. Kregg Lumpkin, the other running back the Giants signed in the wake of Brown’s injury, does play teams. So, if they only keep three running backs active, the third back behind Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson is likely to be Lumpkin.