We’re counting down to the start of training camp here by looking at some numbers that will be keys to the Redskins’ 2014 season.
29—Running back Roy Helu
There is no question that Alfred Morris will carry the load for the 2014 Redskins. But over the course of 70 snaps per game, 16 games per season some depth at the position will be necessary and Helu will be relied upon heavily throughout the season. It seems likely that the team’s third running back will be either rookie Lache Seastrunk or second-year player Chris Thompson, who did not take a snap on offense last year. Helu’s experience will come in handy.
They probably don’t want him playing as much as he played last year. In 2013 he took 547 snaps to 611 for Morris. That was because Helu was the back in passing situations and they found themselves trailing and in catch-up mode all too often.
Helu excels in pass protection. Per Pro Football Focus he was responsible for pass blocking on 134 snaps last year and he allowed just one sack.
He did get to handle the ball on occasion last year.
As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”
He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.
Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).
Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.
“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”
“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”
Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).
Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.
RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.
Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.
Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.
In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.
In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.
Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.
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