NFL teams making unpopular choice at running back

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,NFL,Jeffrey Tomik

With running backs, nothing is guaranteed.

A player's draft position, career achievements and salary have not influenced playing time around the league.

In Washington, Alfred Morris -- a sixth-round pick out of Florida Atlantic -- has 44 of the 51 carries by Redskins running backs. He won the starting job over Roy Helu, who led Washington in carries last year, and Evan Royster, Penn State's all-time leading rusher who averaged 5.9 yards a carry in 2011.

Coach Mike Shanahan went with the unproven rookie over the two second-year backs. So far it seems to be working, as Morris has rushed for 185 yards and two touchdowns in two games.

On the opposing sideline Sunday, the St. Louis Rams saw three-time Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson go out with a groin injury. But instead of turning to Isaiah Pead, a second-round pick out of Cincinnati, the Rams handed the job to Daryl Richardson, a seventh-rounder out of Abilene Christian. Richardson ran for 83 yards on 15 carries against the Redskins but fumbled late in the fourth quarter.

The New York Giants also decided to go with a lesser-known back when starter Ahmad Bradshaw went out with a neck injury in Sunday's win over the Buccaneers. The Giants turned to journeyman Andre Brown over first-round pick David Wilson, who fumbled in Week 1. The former N.C. State back rushed for 71 yards on 13 carries and scored the game-winning touchdown.

At running back, it's clear reputation hasn't dictated decisions.

- Jeffrey Tomik

jtomik@washingtonexaminer.com

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Jeffrey Tomik

Sports editor
The Washington Examiner