There's a belief that simply being able to stay on the field and out of the trainer's room is the key to being the lead back this year in Washington. The Redskins entered camp with a quartet of talented running backs, but all three holdovers from 2011 struggled to stay healthy, while rookie Alfred Morris emerged.
And so it makes sense that, today, the one who was able to take the fewest snaps of the bunch appears to be the odd man out. Tim Hightower will be released, according to Grant Paulsen of 106.7 the Fan in Washington.
After missing the majority of 2011 with a torn ACL, Hightower's recovery took longer than expected. He lacked burst this summer and was only healthy enough to carry the ball five times over the course of the preseason.
With that in mind, this probably wasn't an extremely difficult decision. But considering how great Hightower looked last preseason, the 'Skins probably struggled with the idea of cutting the only truly experienced back on the roster.
Instead, though, they'll roll the dice on youngsters Morris, Evan Royster and Roy Helu—all of whom have shown glimpses of awesomeness early in their respective careers. The fear might only be that Morris has yet to prove himself in an actual regular season game, while Royster and Helu have again been nagged by injuries this summer.
Unless they make a trade that lands them a veteran back—which might be in the works, according to Rich Campbell of the Washington Times—they'll enter 2012 with those three, and the Shanahans will undoubtedly piss off fantasy owners for 17 straight weeks by riding whatever hand is hottest.
But as long as they're producing, Redskins fans won't complain.
Other Redskins roster moves of note on cutdown day
Brandon Banks and Dezmon Briscoe in, Terrence Austin and Anthony Armstrong Out at Wide Receiver
Banks was told he wouldn't make the team simply as a returner and had to perform as a wide receiver. Apparently, he did just enough to prove to Mike Shanahan that he could deliver offensively when needed. Briscoe had a strong preseason and probably deserved a spot ahead of Austin and Armstrong.
Brandyn Thompson, Travon Bellamy and David Jones Out at Cornerback
This means Washington will only have four cornerbacks on the roster. That could of course change, so don't panic if you're edged when thinking about the trouble Cedric Griffin, DeAngelo Hall and rookie seventh-round pick Richard Crawford might have.
Still, it's not an ideal situation. We'll see if the 'Skins make a run at former second-round pick Darius Butler, who was released by the Panthers on Friday.