Who will be the running backs behind Morris?

Who will be the running backs behind Morris?
July 11, 2013, 11:15 am
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Tandler - Tarik

By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler

Twenty questions No. 14—Who will be the running backs behind Alfred Morris?

The 2013 Redskins are loaded with storylines. Between now and the start of training camp, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will be examining the top 20 questions the Redskins face as they get ready for the season.

The Redskins’ running back situation has been fluid ever since the arrival of Mike Shanahan. In 2012 Alfred Morris was the third different back to lead the team in rushing following Ryan Torain in 2010 and Roy Helu Jr. the next year. This year Morris is set at the top of the depth chart but the depth chart behind him needs to be sorted out during training camp. There are probably two roster spots behind Morris and four backs will be competing for them. Who will prevail?

Rich Tandler: If you’re looking for a prediction here you’re going to be disappointed. I honestly have no idea how this will shake out. The conventional wisdom is that “speed” backs Helu and Chris Thompson will compete for one job while Evan Royster and Jawan Jamison will battle for the other backup spot. But it would be foolish to rule out a Helu-Thompson backup corps or a Royster-Jamison combo. It is also possible that they will carve out another roster spot (two QB’s, anyone?) and keep a forth back. It’s all questions right now with answers not coming until final cuts are made on August 31.

Tarik El-Bashir: If the Redskins keep three running backs, I’m looking for Morris and Helu to earn spots and Jamison and Thompson to battle for the final job. I don’t see how both rookies make the 53 out of camp; experience still counts for something and pass protection as well as other nuances of the game take time to perfect. And besides, if one of the rookies does get squeezed, he can always end up on the practice squad. As for Royster, I believe he’s an NFL caliber running back and will be in the league next season. But the 25-year-old Fairfax native needs more opportunity. He was on the field for 248 plays in 2012 but touched the ball only 38 times (23 carries and 15 receptions). But if, for some reason, Mike Shanahan decides to go with four running backs, it wouldn’t shock me to see Morris, Helu, Royster and one of the rookies make the final cut.  

Upcoming on 20 questions

  • Question 13 Friday: Is London Fletcher still an every down linebacker?
  • Question 12 Saturday: What can Jordan Reed bring to the offense in 2013?
  • Question 11 Sunday: Who will be the nickel cornerback?