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Royster's Ready For Late-Season Push

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Redskins coaches have eased rookie running back Evan Royster into playing time since he joined the Redskins' roster from the practice squad on Nov. 16.

The approach has paid off.

After seeing minimal action in Weeks 12-13 against the Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets, respectively, Royster has seen an increase in action the last two games.

In Week 14 against the New England Patriots, Royster carried the ball six times for 44 yards and had two catches for six yards.

Last Sunday vs. the New York Giants, after Roy Helu was slowed by toe and knee injuries, Royster had 10 carries for 36 yards.

While these are not staggering numbers, Royster is earning much-needed game experience. With Helu limited in practice this week, he could see even more action in Saturday's game vs. Minnesota.

The more carries he gets, the more effective he is running the ball.

"Almost everyone is like that," Royster said. "Once you get in a rhythm, things just come a little bit easier."

The 6-1, 213-pound running back was the first of two Redskins draft picks in the sixth round last April.

The Fairfax, Va., native had starred at Penn State, where he ran for 3,932 yards to become the Nittany Lions' career rushing leader. He also logged 29 rushing touchdown. As a receiver out of the backfield, he grabbed 61 career passes for 507 yards and three receiving touchdowns.

"In college, I just liked how productive he was," head coach Mike Shanahan said. "He's very consistent. He'll get you that extra couple of yards. He always seems to hit the right hole. But you never know how somebody is going to play until you put them in a game situation.

"When Evan has played, he has played just like he has practiced, and just like he played at the college level. Very consistent. He'll get more reps as time goes on and hopefully he can take it to the next level."

Even though he spent the bulk of his rookie season on the Redskins' practice squad, Royster prepared like he was the starting running back.

"It's all about getting in the flow of preparing during the week," Royster said. "I say it all the time, you have to be ready to play before Sunday. All the time we put in during the week is what gets us ready."

Like all of the rookies the Redskins have turned to this season, Royster has wasted no time dwelling on personal successes. Rather, he has focused on what he could have done better.

"I look back and I think, 'Man, I wish I would have broken more tackles' and helped our team win," Royster said after the New England game.

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