Despite the total despair we all felt yesterday there was one small glimmer of hope in the beat down the 49ers gave us yesterday. For years Skins fans have been looking for a "change of pace" back, and lightning to Clinton Portis' and now Tim Hightower's lightning. I've been saying for two to three years that the feature back is dead in the NFL, except for a few extreme examples, and Mike Shanahan has been keen on this belief for quite some time. Yesterday showed us that Shanny has once again made another great running back decision in the draft, this time with Roy Helu, Jr.
It seems like we've lacked a back for years that can contribute in the screen game and act as a bit of a safety valve for our quarterback (no matter how bad they are). John Beck found his safety valve yesterday when he hit Helu fourteen times for 105 yards. Helu was also able to add 41 yards on ten carries. As pain staking as it was to never see Beck throw a pass, basically, past 15 yards; it was a positive adjustment to see the Shannys using the screen game with Helu.
Beyond Helu it was certainly positive to see guys like Leonard Hankerson thrown in the mix yesterday. Hank reeled in 4 catches for 34 yards and also scored a two point conversion in garbage time (a glimmer of a successful red zone passing play!). Also, have we finally found our kicker? That Gano kick was incredible!
We'll see how the youth movement continues this week with Helu, Hankerson, Maurice Hurt, and others. John Beck is 0-7 career as a starter, but can he get his first win where it all started in Miami?