Alfred Morris ran the 40-yard dash in 4.67 seconds at the NFL scouting combine back in February. Out of the 44 running backs who ran, 33 ran a faster time.
Morris, however, hasn’t played slowly in his first two regular season games or in the preseason. Coaches believe he possesses a functional football speed that makes him an effective back, regardless of his slow 40 time.
Through two games, the sixth-round pick out of Florida Atlantic has 185 yards and two touchdowns on 44 carries – good for a 4.2-yard average.
“I think a lot of those fast guys, those combine-fast guys, you don’t see as many long runs,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Thursday. “Game speed is about carrying your pads. It’s pressing blocks, putting your foot violently in the ground, and how much can you accelerate out of the cut? Alf is a guy, who, when he puts his foot down, he actually gains momentum from that. He can put his foot in the ground and explode out of it and actually be faster coming out of a cut than he was going into it.
“A lot of those fast guys, it’s like they’re playing on ice sometimes. It takes them a while to stop and then they’ve got to re-situate their hips, and they get going again. Alf is very similar to Terrell Davis in that way. Terrell wasn’t a fast guy, but he hit that hole, and if there was a lane, he found that crease, and he was gone. If a guy was really, really fast and right behind him, then he’d catch him, but usually he was pressing, making guys overrun the hole and then cutting back. And once you get guys to overrun the hole, they’re not going to catch you.”