Redskins could seek to bolster backfield

Posted June 04, 2011 @ 2:31 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

Much like at quarterback, the men who make up the Redskins' current depth chart at running back might not be the ones who ultimately factor in at the position when the season begins.

The Redskins, we hear, are considering some free-agent additions to the backfield to pair with the bodies they currently have. It's certainly possible that Ryan Torain, who had his moments of excellence last season, could win the job. And many already are touting fourth-round RB Roy Helu, whose one-cut running style might be a perfect fit in Mike Shanahan's zone running game.

But other options include sixth-year free agents such as Joseph Addai and Darren Sproles, two backs with divergent skills. Addai is like a younger Clinton Portis, perhaps with less power and short-yardage ability. Sproles is a cat-quick scatback; he burned the Broncos badly twice in 2008 (including in Shanahan's final game as head coach there), so there is some familiarity.

What Addai and Sproles both have in common is that they each come from pass-heavy schemes in Indianapolis and San Diego where they both were asked to pass protect heavily. Addai is more of a workhorse back, although Sproles offers the additional game-breaking ability as both a punt and kick returner.

Expect the team to add at least one additional back to the Torain-Helu duo. Torain has been injury-prone dating back to college, and Helu ran very hot and cold at Nebraska. Shanahan has made some previously unknown backs into standouts, and even stars in some cases, but he also needs more insurance at the position.