Young has name-dropped Chris Johnson and Emmitt Smith, among others, to rationalize that Morris occasionally will fumble. The rookie did so in Sunday’s overtime victory against the Baltimore Ravens, but he also rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown.
“I learned a lesson a long time ago back in college, my fullback coach in college, he said you got to have a short-term memory to play this game,” Morris said. “It’s terrible, but at the same time there’s a lot more game to be played. That happened early on in the game, and if I hung my head, I wouldn’t be able to go out there and help my team out.”
“We’ll get back to trying to strip the ball, put him in situations where he gets those good habits back,” Shanahan said. “But he’s a guy you really trust because it means a lot to him. If you do get the ball [out], usually it’s a pretty good hit or three or four guys standing a guy up and doing a great job of just pulling the ball out.”
Once the ball is out and Morris gets off the field, he tries hard to forget about it. He’s not using it as fuel.
“If anything, fumbling makes me mad, and I learned a long time ago I can’t play angry,” Morris said. “That’s just not the type of person I am. It only hurts me more, so I have to just block it out, short-term memory and move on.”
Field goal protection stands up
Kicker Kai Forbath has earned praise for going 14-for-14 on field goal attempts since the Redskins signed him in October. But Sunday, after Forbath’s 34-yard game-winner, special teams captain Lorenzo Alexander brought attention to the eight other players on the field who don’t snap, hold or kick.
“The biggest thing this year, though, is protection is so much better,” Alexander said. “Guys in the front are giving great pad level and giving him a chance to get the ball up and get it through.”
Graham Gano was blocked on five attempts last season; the only block this year was on an extra point that Forbath clearly kicked too low.
Special teams coordinator Danny Smith made it an offseason focus and kept up the pressure on the field goal protection unit, Alexander said, which has made the difference.
But that could change at any moment.