The Washington Times - July 28, 2012, 08:36AM

Anyone with any experience playing fantasy football knows that Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has a long – and frustrating – history of utilizing a committee of running backs instead of playing one featured back.

Shanahan’s willingness to rotate backs based largely on recent performance has worked well for his teams, but it leaves fantasy owners grasping for information and insight regarding which back they should expect to put up numbers.

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In the context of the Redskins’ current running back competition between Tim Hightower, Roy Helu Jr. and Evan Royster, Shanahan on Friday explained what it would take for him to go to a one-back approach. Fantasy football owners could consider it a manifesto of sorts.

“Number one, we’ve got to stay healthy,” Shanahan said. “Helu and Royster, with the limited play, they both have been hurt. So if you are going to take some more reps, obviously you’ve got to stay healthy.

“So it’s a combination. Can a guy stay healthy when he does perform? Is he consistent doing what he’s doing? What I mean is, first and second down, as well as third down. Some guys can’t block those linebackers. They’re more runners than pass protectors.

“So if we can get a guy that can do it all, obviously we’d like to leave that guy in and play all the time. There’s some backs in the league that do.”

So there you have it. If the Redskins ever come acquire the next Terrell Davis or Arian Foster, Shanahan might stray from his running-back-by-committee approach. Until then, he’ll continue to play the hot hand.

And while we’re on the subject of the Redskins’ current running back situation, the team does not plan at this time to add a running back such as Cedric Benson or Ryan Grant, a source with knowledge of the situation said Friday. Whether that changes depends largely on the health of Hightower’s surgically repaired left knee, which Shanahan said is not close to 100 percent.