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Evan Royster: Running Backs ‘In The Dark’ About Choice Of Starter

By ZAC BOYER

zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

ASHBURN – Though Mike Shanahan said Saturday he has selected a starting running back for the Washington Redskins’ season opener at New Orleans, Evan Royster said the group has thus far not been told of the head coach’s selection.

Royster

“I think they’re going to keep us in the dark until probably the day before the game too, so we’ll see,” said Royster, who worked as the first-team running back throughout training camp and the preseason. “I think it’s good as a whole, because I think it all makes us compete and you know, it’s not like one of us going into the game is the clear starter. We’re all here working to get that spot.”

Royster will be competing with Roy Helu, who was the Redskins’ leading rusher last season, and rookie Alfred Morris to be the team’s primary back against the Saints.

Exactly which back starts the game won’t be any indication of who plays the most. All three running backs figure to see time against New Orleans, and Shanahan has shown in the past the player who starts Sunday may not be the one who does so a week later at St. Louis.

Tim Hightower, who was the top running back early last season before tearing his ACL in October, was released by the Redskins on Friday as initial rosters were finalized.

Royster said Hightower’s release means he and Helu will have to be more responsible in their second year without a true veteran presence at the position.

“You know, we’re still young ourselves,” Royster said. “We have to mature quickly, and I think our coaches are doing a good job of keeping us comfortable and making sure we’re not too far out of our comfort zone going into this game.”

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