The trade for Tim Hightower this offseason brought a running back to Washington that was well-versed in pass-protection. A running back that can perform in all three facets of the game offers the offense more possibilities while he’s in the game, something that has been missing since Clinton Portis in his prime.
But now that Hightower’s season has ended on injured reserve, his influence will carry on in his fellow stable-mates, especially Ryan Torain.
“Y’know, Tim was definitely a specialist in studying hard, and I tried to take a little bit from him,” Torain said. “I’ve been putting in work and trying to be a student off the field, and that’s the way I’ve been approaching it this year.”
This hasn’t gone unnoticed by his coaches, who will be relying on him to pick up a lion’s share of the carries in Hightower’s absence.
“Ryan has come a long way in protection,” said head coach Mike Shanahan. “I think he is more confident in knowing who to get on. Just seeing his assignments and not seeing too much. He has been locking into assignments much better.”
Torain’s tenacity is something that makes him a good playmaker with the ball in his hands. Now that he has the mental preparation for pass-protection, he has that same type of enthusiasm in pass-blocking.
“Y’know, Ryan is a physical guy, and he doesn’t mind getting his face in people,” Shanahan said. “When he is confident and getting on the right person, we are confident in him as a blocker.”
Although Shanahan has yet to name a starter at running back, it is likely that Torain will see an increased role in the offense. His motivation to get on the field is as strong as it is simple: “Because I’m not the starter,” he said with a smile.
Listen to Torain’s full audio below: