Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
Helu's receiving ability adds an extra dimension to his game and makes him a real touchdown threat.
It’s that word again. The 2012 Washington Redskins are the house that versatility built, with Helu being yet another example.
There is no other player on the Redskins roster who is likely to post a 100-yard game as a receiver, then follow it up in another game with 100 yards from the backfield.
Helu did both of those things last year, with the 105 and 41 yards—receiving and rushing, respectively—against San Francisco being an obvious highlight.
Against the Philadelphia Eagles, Helu averages 14.75 yards per reception. He posted 126 yards rushing against the New England Patriots. If there is that sort of talent on a football team, the coach doesn't keep them off the field for long.
There are concerns about his durability, which is why he will never be the every-down back for the Redskins. It’s just not his style, and his recent Achilles troubles make it pointless to expect him to play that role.
As we saw against the Saints, Helu is likely to be used on third downs, making plays on the outside or acting as an extra receiving option to confuse defenses.
Although he would undoubtedly like to get more than 10 touches a game, this is the best way to use him at this point. He still hasn’t had a lot of practice this year and can’t be expected to carry the running game at this stage.
As the season goes on, Helu will become more involved. The Redskins have the majority of their division games at the end of the season. If he remains the starter, Morris will be pretty banged up by then, so it will be useful to have a game-changer like Helu ready to take the field.
If the Redskins are to make the playoffs, they need to go at least 3-3 within their division. We saw how the Redskins used the running game to great effect against the Giants last year; if they are to do it again, they need Helu to be healthy.