Is Darrel Young the key to Redskins rushing attack?

Is Darrel Young the key to Redskins rushing attack?
December 14, 2013, 2:45 pm
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Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan shakes hands with Washington Redskins fullback Darrel Young (36) before a game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

(Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports)

Redskins Post Game Live

Talk of big changes in the Redskins backfield dominated the news this week, but a move beyond the quarterback position could prove more important for Washington. Fullback Darrel Young is expected to return to the field Sunday against Atlanta, and with it, perhaps the return of the Redskins dominant run game.

Before suffering a hamstring injury, Young last played in the Skins 24-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Though the team lost, as a team Washington ran for almost 200 yards at a healthy 5-yards-per-carry average. At that point in the season the Redskins ranked as the top rushing attack in the NFL.

In the three games since Young went down, the rushing attack has suffered, none worse than last week in a blowout loss to Kansas City. Against the Chiefs the Redskins managed to gain just 65 yards on the ground.

[RELATED: Jordan Reed out for Falcons game]

Young's presence opens holes and running lanes for Redskins running back Alfred Morris, who has had two clunkers in a row for Washington. Last week Morris was ineffective, barely cracking the 30-yard mark. Morris will certainly be happy to see "D.Y." back in action.

Without Young, the Skins tried various players in his spot, including Niles Paul and Evan Royster. Neither are natural fullbacks and could not deliver in the physically-demanding role as lead blocker.

If Young returns to the field, will the Redskins get the ground game back on track? Let us know in the comments.