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News & Notes: Williams to Start At Running Back


In training camp last summer, Keiland Williams was a rookie running back trying to rise from obscurity.

He competed for carries with the likes of Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker.

After 10 games this season, Williams suddenly finds himself as the most experienced Redskins running back available for this Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings.

With Portis and Chad Simpson headed to injured reserve and Ryan Torain still sidelined by a hamstring, Williams is expected to draw a starting assignment.

If he continues to perform well, he could emerge as a long-term starter.

Head coach Mike Shanahan has a knack for finding young talent at running back, and Williams could be his latest discovery.

"Keiland is getting a lot more confidence and the more repetitions he gets, the more he's able to play in game situations, and the better off you feel about him, especially as a young guy coming in," Shanahan said.

Williams has played in eight games and logged 49 carries for 195 yards and three touchdowns this season. He also is third on the team with 24 catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns.

He earned his first NFL start in Week 10 against Philadelphia when Torain aggravated his hamstring during pre-game warm-ups.

Last Sunday in Tennessee, Williams saw significant action after Portis suffered an abdominal injury that would end his season.

Through it all, Williams has always felt ready for a larger role.

"Considering the last two weeks and the snaps I was able to get, I definitely feel like I'm more in a comfort zone," he said. "But every week is a new challenge. If I'm getting the same amount of snaps or if my snaps decrease, I'm still ready."

Williams joined the Redskins as an undrafted rookie out of LSU. He started just 3-of-47 games in college but still played regularly, posting 1,699 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns.

In the NFL, Williams began the season as the Redskins' third-down back because coaches like how he performed in pass protection.

His role expanded as the season progressed.

"Any time you come into a situation where you're a free agent, you definitely picture being part of a team, so I don't think this is too big for me at all," he said. "I feel like if I am the starting back and I am getting the reps, I am ready for it."

Count Portis among those impressed.

"I think Keiland has played great," Portis said. "That's two weeks in a row for him to go out and play the whole game. Keiland had that pressure because you can't come out. There is no breather. You can't get tired. You can't tap the helmet and get spelled. It should build a lot of confidence."


LaRon Landry continues to be sidelined with an Achilles injury and he is unlikely to play this Sunday vs, Minnesota.

Asked if Landry could be shut down for the season, Mike Shanahan replied: "You never know for sure. There's always a concern."

For now, the recommendation is for Landry to rest.

"We really have no choice but to rest it because it's inflamed and he can't run" Shanahan said. "There's too much pain. There's nothing you can do to play with it, relative to shots or anything like that.

"So, you have to play through the pain and then if you play through that pain, there's a chance of rupturing the Achilles and we don't want to do that. Right now, he's in a boot. He's getting a lot of treatment. Hopefully he gets a little better."

With Landry likely to be deactivated on Sunday, Reed Doughty is expected to start at strong safety opposite free safety Kareem Moore.


The Redskins have faced off against dynamic Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson just once before.

In a 32-21 win over the Vikings on Dec. 23, 2007, the defense limited Peterson to just 27 yards on nine carries.

At halftime of the game, Peterson had just five yards on four carries and was basically a non-factor. The Redskins were ahead 22-0 and the defense had effectively taken him out of the game.

Peterson wasn't able to break off a significant run until early in the third quarter when he picked up 18 yards on a carry.

Later in the same drive, the Redskins shut down Peterson again, this time stopping him on a 4th-and-1 run up the middle. London Fletcher and LaRon Landry combined on the key tackle.

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