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Taking the night off in Tennessee, running back Alfred Morris watched from the sidelines as a couple familiar names battled it out for the No. 2 spot.
Roy Helu Jr. returns this year after missing a majority of last season to injury. His combination of speed, explosiveness, pass catching and pass protection make him the early favorite to win the job and come in on third down.
Meanwhile, Evan Royster returns after receiving less than 25 carries last season. Although his running style fits Washington's system, Royster will need to show out in order to prove that he can give more than just a smooth stride and big frame.
Helu Jr. rushed for 57 yards on 13 carries against the Titans, often times reminding coaches of the speedy burst they grew accustomed to during Helu's rookie year when he led the team with 640 yards.
Putting up similar numbers, Royster finished the game with 14 carries for 62 yards.
Rookies Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison did not play.
Shanahan discussed the situation with The Washington Post:
"I was really impressed,” Shanahan said. “It was nice to see Roy do a good job. I thought he handled himself well. I thought Royster did a great job when he was in there. I’ve got to take a look at film, but my initial thoughts were I’m very impressed with both.”
While the battle may grow a bit more between Helu Jr. and Royster, my favorite remains Helu.
Not only does Helu offer more in terms of skill set, but the preseason playing time will change amongst the backfield once Thompson and Jamison join the mix, ultimately making things harder on a rather vanilla Evan Royster.