By the end of last season, the Redskins running attack was spear-headed by fullback Mike Sellers, and running backs Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams.
Through the first two games, none of the aforementioned backs have seen offensive snaps, and Williams is no longer a member of the Redskins running back stable.
It’s amazing the difference nine months can make.
Two months ago, Darrel Young, Tim Hightower, and Roy Helu didn’t know each other. Last Sunday, they rushed for a combined 172 yards, a feat that was accomplished only once all of last year.
Young, the bulldozer for the group, sees only one main difference.
“We believed,” he said simply. “All week we talked about if we get the running game going, it opens up everything else.”
And it certainly did. The offense’s 455 total yards against the Cardinals exceeded every regulation four-quarter output from last season, and led the way to their second victory on the season.
Even though Young is usually blowing holes in the defense for his running backs to run through, he still has an assessment of how they run.
“Y’know, Hightower’s aggressive guy, you can’t coach what he does,” he explained. “And Helu–the things that we did coach, he did that–but the running style, that’s him. We got two guys like that, and basically you got a two-headed monster. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Young made sure to note that the group got off to a “slow start” in the game against the Cardinals, and made no excuses for the performance.
“In the first half we missed a lot of assignments, myself included,” he said. “Y’know, doing a lot of things I wouldn’t normally do, but that’s what film is for.”
You would never know by listening to Young that Hightower had piled up 83 yards on the ground, in that “slow” first half.
Young’s transformation from a college linebacker in the CAA is nearly complete, but he doesn’t cut himself any slack based on that.
“I just need to react more and stop thinking about what I see on film for other teams,” he continued. “Obviously their game plan is different for the next week.”
Tim Hightower, Roy Helu and Darrel Young have been together for less than two months. The more time they spend together the better their chemistry will be. Young understands that better chemistry means better team play.
“You see some of the guys come and go, it’s a tough business,” he said, comparing the group to last year’s unit. “But at the end of the day, you’re gonna have to bond with the guys you are with.”
Or, as Stephen Stills once sang, “and if you can’t be, with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with.”
“It’s about winning at the end of the day,” Young concluded, “and we just wanna win so everyone is happy.”
Amen to that.
Tags: 2011 season, Darrel Young, keiland williams, Mike Sellers, roy helu, ryan torain, tim hightower, washington redskins
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