A new Choice in the Redskins' backfield

November, 10, 2011
11/10/11
10:35
AM ET
So you think Roy Helu's the guy now in the backfield for the Washington Redskins, do you? Feeling good about how you picked him off the waiver wire in your fantasy football league two weeks ago? Sliding him into your starting lineup off his 14-catch game and laughing at the guy who traded for Ryan Torain during the Week 5 bye?

Well, Tashard Choice is here to make you wonder again. The former Dallas Cowboys running back, signed by the Redskins after the Cowboys cut him last month, is feeling healthy and could be playing for Washington as soon as Sunday in Miami. Per Mike Jones:
"It's going down," Choice said on if he expected to play this week. "I'm eager to show people how to make a blessing out of bad breaks. It's going to be fun. These eight games, it's about to be fun. I can't wait. … Absolutely. I'm rolling. I'm rolling this week."

Although now fully healthy, Choice still isn't a complete certainty to play on Sunday. He must demonstrate to coaches that he has a good enough understanding for the offense to be trusted in a game. But so far, coach Mike Shanahan liked what he saw out of the fourth-year Georgia Tech product.

So there you have it. Fact is, it's impossible to predict what Shanahan will do with his running backs Sunday, for the rest of the year or as long as he remains an NFL head coach. If I had to guess, I'd say you'll still see plenty of Helu -- maybe even as the starter, as he was Sunday. The thing they liked about Tim Hightower before his injury was his value in the passing game as a receiver and a blocker. They rate Helu more highly in those areas than they do Torain, which is why you saw so much of him Sunday. But my sense is that they see him more as that change-of-pace guy than a run-between-the-tackles guy.

Choice is a player the Cowboys once thought had a world of ability, and obviously it didn't pan out in Dallas. The fact that Shanahan picked him up indicates he saw something as well, and we'll have to wait and see how he's used before we figure out what that was. He could potentially be that between-the-tackles guy with Helu serving as the third-down back. He could be there strictly for bench depth. Or for goal-line work. Regardless, the Redskins' offense needs a jolt, and if Shanahan thinks Choice can help provide it, don't be surprised to see the coach give him a real chance.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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