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Helu Continues to Show Promise As a Starter


Roy Helu is beginning to come into his own as the Redskins' starter at running back.

He still has a long way to go to estalish himself in the NFL, but he has certainly made strides in his first three starts.

Last Sunday against the New York Jets, Helu carried the ball 23 times for 100 yards and one touchdown, posting consecutive 100-yard rushing games. He also pulled in four catches for 42 yards.

The Redskins were not able to hold a late lead against the Jets, falling 34-19. After the loss, Helu analyzed his game like a veteran, not a wide-eyed rookie.

Asked if he had found a comfort level on offense, he replied: "I don't like that word, comfortable, because I don't feel that way at all. Complacency is one of my enemies."

He has an impressive drive to constantly better himself.

"I want to be better at pass blocking," Helu said. "The biggest area of improvement since I have come from college has been pass protection and blitz recognition."

Added head coach Mike Shanahan: "I thought he ran hard. You could see some of his big-play ability just getting three or four yards. You saw on one screen where he ran for six or seven yards the ability to make [tacklers] miss. He was a hair away from breaking it and going the distance on a couple runs there."

Helu's demeanor has also impressed Shanahan and everyone at Redskins Park. He is humble, maybe even a little shy. And he works hard at his craft.

"I know a lot of good manners can be interpreted as weakness, but he's just a nice kid," Shanahan said. "He's very respectful. He's sharp and easy to get along with. At the same time, he's mentally tough.

"He works at it. He has a lot of pride in everything he does and I keep on looking for him to get better and better."

In Week 12 against the Seattle Seahawks, Helu carried the ball 23 times for 108 yards and one touchdown. He also caught seven passes for 54 yards.

Helu's efforts on offense helped the Redskins end a six-game losing streak with a 23-17 victory over the Seahawks.

"When you experience a win like we did in Seattle, you just don't want to settle for anything less, so we are looking to win, not just play well -- myself included," Helu said.

In his first start against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 9, Helu caught 14 passes for 105 yards, and carried the ball 10 times for 41 yards. His 14 catches broke the Redskins single-game record for receptions.

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