Washington Redskins running back Roy Helu might not be a flashy player, but he’s an excellent blocker and gets the job done in the passing game, which is why he’s the favorite the hold the role of third-down back for Washington this season, according to John Kelm of ESPN.com.
The third-down pass-catching role obviously entails a lot of protection work as well. That gives Helu an edge, despite his rough showing Thursday. Chris Thompson has been sidelined with a sprained ankle, which hasn’t helped him.
“I feel most confident with him on third down other than Alfred,” Gruden said. “[Lache] Seastrunk has got a little way to go and Silas Redd‘s doing a much better job coming in here. [Evan] Royster’s done some good things. It’s just a matter of getting them out there and picking up some blitzes and seeing how they do — if they stick their face in there and protect. We’ll go from there and make the decision.”
Helu rushed for 274 yards and four touchdowns on 62 attempts and caught 31 balls for 251 yards for Washington in 2013. He also ranked third among running backs in terms of pass blocking, according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics.
While Washington has some other intriguing backs, sticking with Helu, who is a proven talent, in the third-down role makes a lot of sense.
The Redskins drafted Helu with the No. 105 pick in the 2011 draft. He has rushed for 916 yards and six touchdowns in three seasons.