Mike Shanahan always likes to talk about players taking advantage of opportunities when they get them. He has said that he likes to give a reserve player who steps in and performs when he is needed additional opportunities down the line.
If that is the case, look for Roy Helu Jr. to get the ball in his hands a little more often as the season goes on. He stepped in for an injured Alfred Morris and made two critical plays to clinch the Redskins’ first game of the year.
The plays came back to back. On the first one he improvised a pass route as Robert Griffin III scrambled to his right. Helu turned a 10-yard pass into 28 yards when he turned up field and hurdled a would-be tackler. On the next play, Helu dashed up the middle to score from 14 yards out to give them a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
“When Roy did get his opportunities … I was really pleased with him because he was ready both in the running game and the passing game,” said Shanahan. “You could see his speed, his strength, and he took advantage of a couple of opportunities to get some big plays.”
But will he get more opportunities? He might, according to Kyle Shanahan.
“You never know, you see how the game plays out, what you're getting, what plays you call,” the Redskins’ offensive coordinator said. “We know Helu's a good player, we know what he did his rookie year here. You can tell that he's healthy and that he's the same guy he was his rookie year. I would like to give him the ball more and I think he's done a good job with it. Hopefully it works out for him and we expect him to do what he did [against Oakland].”
As a rookie in 2011, Helu led the team in rushing, picking up 640 yards on 151 carries.
Here is what you need to know on this Monday, December 5, six days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.
—Today's schedule: Jay Gruden conference call 3 p.m.
—Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 6; Panthers @ Redskins 14; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 19
Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
C Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (possible concussion/stinger)
Postgame injury report
Redskins vs. Cardinals by the numbers
—Kirk Cousins passed for 271 yards. While compiling those yards he moved up six spots in the team’s record book for single season passing yardage. He passed four different quarterbacks in the process and passed Mark Rypien and Joe Theismann twice.
—Cousins also moved past Jason Campbell for sixth on the team’s career passing yards list.
—DeSean Jackson caught a 59-yard pass from Cousins in the third quarter. It was his 35th career reception of 50 yards or longer. Since he entered the league in 2008 no NFL player has more.
—Ryan Kerrigan sacked Carson Palmer in the second quarter, giving him 10 for the season. He now has his second career season with double-digit sacks; he had 13.5 in 2014.
—Trent Murphy recorded a third-quarter sack of Palmer; he now has eight sacks this season. He had a total of six in his first two NFL seasons.
—Dustin Hopkins kicked a 53-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. It was the second-longest of his career. He hit a 54-yarder in Atlanta last season.
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GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.
Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.
Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.
In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.
[MORE: JOSH NORMAN ON HIS CRUCIAL FOURTH-QUARTER PENALTY]