Tim Hightower Preparing To Start Sunday’s Game Against Philadelphia
ASHBURN – Until he’s told otherwise, Tim Hightower is preparing as if he’s the starting running back of the Washington Redskins.
And even if that time comes, Hightower will likely continue to believe that role is still his.
“I’m always preparing to be the starting guy,” Hightower said Thursday. “That’s just me. Until I’m told otherwise, even if it happens and I’m not, in my mindset, I still am. I don’t think I change who I am or what I do.”
Hightower, who started the Redskins’ first four games of the season at running back, finds himself in an unsettled situation this week. Ryan Torain, the team’s leading rusher a year ago, has returned to the rotation following a broken left hand that limited him through much of the preseason. As he’s gotten healthier, Hightower has faded, the victim of a left shoulder injury sustained in the second half of the season opener against the New York Giants that hampered him significantly two weeks ago at St. Louis.
The shoulder injury has healed, Hightower said, and he’s ready to play Sunday against Philadelphia. In what manner seems unsettled; with Torain picking up 135 yards and a touchdown against the Rams while relieving Hightower, the two enter the game against the Eagles unsure of what lies ahead.
The question of who will be the starting running back is basically a flawed premise, as Hightower alluded to Thursday. “Just because you’re the starter, you can start and then come out of the game for the rest of the game,” he said.
Hightower, a better pass protector, figures to at least be in the game on third down. But judging by his comments Thursday, it seems likely that he’ll get the nod early – at least a significant number of carries, with Torain and Roy Helu making a sporadic appearance.
Head coach Mike Shanahan has chosen not to get into the rotation or playing time, citing competitive advantages associated with the game plan. He did say Monday, however, Torain would get his share of carries against the Eagles, who enter the game with the third-worst rush defense in the league.
“Any time a guy’s averaging nearly seven yards a carry, we’re sure going to give him an opportunity to show us what he can do,” Hightower said, speaking of Torain. “Helu and Tim, when he’s healthy, has played well. I think we’re in a good situation, and we’ll see how practice goes this week and make a decision on game day.”