- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
- ‘Duck Dynasty’ Phil Robertson suspended ‘indefinitely’ for gay comments
- John Podesta eats crow: ‘I apologize to Speaker Boehner’
- U.S., China race to finish line on ‘invisibility cloak’
- Obama ‘cavalier’ in hiding foreign aid order, judge rules
- Prince Charles: Muslims are driving Christians from Mideast through persecution
- Gitmo’s first commander: Close the prison down
- Google’s newest photography find: Just wink and shoot
Alfred Morris set a high bar as a Redskins rookie, hopes to clear it in his second season
Question of the Day
Alfred Morris finished Thursday’s practice with a harsh evaluation. The Washington Redskins don’t wear pads at organized team activities and tackling is not permitted, but that didn’t diminish the opportunity he and his teammates had in the scorching heat.
“Made some mistakes,” the second-year running back said. “But if you don’t make mistakes, how can you learn?”
Morris is out there perfecting the nuances that escaped him during his historic rookie year, and that means he’s getting better.
“My tracks weren’t always good,” he said of last season. “I sometimes missed cuts, not being as patient. In that sense, I left a lot of yards on the field.”
Left yards on the field? Heck, he gained 1,613, the third-most ever for a rookie. How many more could he have expected?
Morris benefited last season from how opposing defenses slowed to defend against the threat Griffin posed as a runner. If the Redskins, in an attempt to preserve Griffin’s health, reduce their use of the zone-read option to the extent defenses stop respecting it, Morris would face more eight-man fronts keyed on stopping him.
Coach Mike Shanahan has continued to preach the value of the zone read as it relates to slowing defenses, so it seems unlikely the Redskins would take it out of their arsenal. If it came to such a drastic measure, though, Shanahan is convinced Morris is capable of replicating his rookie production.
“He’s got a unique talent,” Shanahan said. “He can make people miss. Very few people can make people miss consistently, at least the first person, before he gets tackled. He’s got the type of power and leg drive that you look for in a running back, and, knock on wood, he’s been able to stay healthy with those types of shots. I think it’s the low center of gravity, it’s how he runs, and hopefully he can keep on doing that.”
Washington’s 17-point win at Cleveland in December is the truest measure of Morris‘ ability to excel without Griffin in the backfield. An injured Griffin watched from the sideline as Morris gained 87 rugged yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. His 3.2-yard average was his second-lowest of the season.
He had only 18 yards on nine carries in the first half, as Redskins coaches repeatedly fed him the ball against a wall of Cleveland defenders. Eventually, though, that commitment to the run set up the play-action pass for quarterback Kirk Cousins. That formula served as the foundation of the offense Shanahan ran before Griffin arrived.
“When you put an offense together, if it’s for Alfred or whoever your tailback is, there’s a lot of things you could do that complement your running game — quarterback keeps, play-action passes; could be the zone read,” Shanahan said. “Alfred is going to gain yards no matter what type of offense we run.”
“I think that’s real selfish of anyone to say,” Griffin said. “You can say the offensive line, you can say me, you can say the receivers blocking, but that doesn’t take away from the player that he is because it doesn’t matter how big the hole is, there are still guys out there trying to hit him, and he’s bouncing off them.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- REDSKINS 2013: Breaking down the schedule, game by game
- NFL 2013: Ranking all 32 teams in terms of staying power
- REDSKINS 2013: Washington seeks staying power among NFL's elite
- With no blueprint, Redskin Hankerson seeks success as dad
- Redskins receiver Leonard Hankerson learning to manage family life with football career
Latest Blog Entries
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Half of America strips religion from Christmas
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Sen. Max Baucus: Obamas choice for China ambassador
- Obama's own panel rips NSA spying on phone calls of Americans
- President gets budget win -- but only by staying out of negotiations
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- NAPOLITANO: NSA spies pick up interference from the Constitution
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Right-brain investing in a left-brain world. You can do it. I can help.
News and views on the Civil War.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow