- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 16, 2012

Washington Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris will have an extended chance to showcase his ability Saturday night against Chicago after a strong preseason debut last week.

Morris gained rushed for 54 yards on 15 carries last Thursday against Buffalo. The sixth-rounder out of Florida Atlantic demonstrated adequate vision and timing behind Mike Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme.

“I’ve been opening eyes with some of the practices and stuff I have, but I think it solidified actually going out there and doing it in the game as opposed to practice,” Morris said.

“The coaches were pleased. It revealed the type of runner I am. I’m a physical guy. I’m a one-cut-and-get-North-and-South type of guy. I’ve got good balance. I’m bouncing off tackles; just that willingness to get every yard possible each and every down.”

Coaches have praised how Morris leans forward when he runs, and his footwork was smooth against the Bills.

Roy Helu Jr. will miss Saturday’s game because of left Achilles tendinitis, and Tim Hightower still is recovering from ACL reconstruction surgery. Coaches plan to give Morris an extended look against Chicago with Helu and Hightower targeting a return next weekend.

Second-year back Evan Royster and Tristan Davis are expected to carry the ball, as well.

Kickers get second first chance

No field goal attempts in the Redskins‘ first preseason game could mean more pressure on kickers Graham Gano and Neil Rackers on Saturday at the Chicago Bears and beyond. Or it might not.

“I really don’t know. If you look at the lines on my face in the past I’ve worried about what other people were thinking,” said the 36-year-old Neil Rackers. “At this point, I just try to go do my job and see what happens.”

Rackers went 9 for 9 in practice Tuesday, and Gano went 5 for 9. His misses came from 32, 49, 53 and 57 yards.

Each kicked off in the preseason opener against Buffalo. Gano’s kick landed 4 yards deep in the end zone, and the first-string coverage unit limited the return to 13 yards.

Rackers’ kickoff landed 8 yards deep, but the return went for 18 yards against the backup coverage unit.

“I have a lot of work to do,” Rackers said. “It’s a long season, and I’m preparing like I’m going to be some place, hopefully here.”

Extra points

• Left tackle Trent Williams (bone bruise, left foot) and left guard Maurice Hurt (left knee tendon) likely will play against Chicago, coach Mike Shanahan said.

For Williams, playing with his teammates is a matter of leadership.

“I feel it’s my duty to be out there with the team,” Williams said. “If I’m not only out there but for 10 plays, I feel like I need to be out there to help set the tone. We’re a young offense trying to get direction, and I feel I can help us get that.”

• Right guard Chris Chester (sprained left ankle) might play. Outside linebacker Markus White will not play after he fractured a rib and bruised his kidney during Wednesday’s practice.

• The Redskins signed defensive tackle Marlon Favorite to replace Chris Neild (knee), who is on injured reserve.

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