Ryan Torain, the Redskins’ starter Sunday, is actually the team’s third-leading rusher in the past six games. The team’s top runner over that stretch is Roy Helu, but Coach Mike Shanahan seems reluctant to rush the rookie into a starring role.
“I like Helu. He’s doing some great things,” Shanahan said. “I don’t want to put too much pressure on him too early. He’s not ready for that. But he’s gaining experience, and I like what I see.”
Torain has started the Redskins’ past two games and three of the four since Tim Hightower went down with a season-ending knee injury. Torain’s rushing numbers from those four games: 40 yards on 24 carries. In Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys, Torain had only four yards on five carries and spent most of the second half on the sideline. Torain has totaled 71 yards in the past six games, considerably less than Helu’s 122.
Despite splitting carries and playing largely on passing downs, Helu has led the Redskins in rushing in each of the past three games. On Sunday, he had 35 yards on eight carries. He ran for 41 yards each of the previous two weeks.