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.