Alfred Morris Receiving Praise Inside And Outside Redskins OrganizationPosted on July 02, 2014 by Harvey Valentine
Pierre Garcon led the NFL in receptions in 2013. DeSean Jackson is one of most explosive players in the game. But in quarterback Robert Griffin III's opinion, the Redskins' biggest offensive threat lines up behind him.
"In my opinion, Alfred Morris," Griffin said when asked the question during the team's June minicamp. "I think everyone would lean toward DeSean or Pierre or [tight end] Jordan Reed, but I think it's Alfred, because [defenses] are going to have to make a decision.
"You're going to have to either put eight in the box and try to stop us from running and dare us to throw it -- which we will do -- or you can leave the box light and let Alfred run over your linebackers or your safeties. And I think it'll be interesting to see what to see what defenses do. But we're not waiting. We're going go out there and make it happen."
During his second NFL season, Morris finished fourth in the league with 1,275 yards on 276 carries, good for a 4.62-yard average, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl. He was one of four backs to exceed 1,250 yards rushing in both 2012 and '13, and his 2,888 yards during that stretch were second only to Minnesota's Adrian Peterson.
His two-year total ranks ninth all time among NFL runners. And during 32 games, Morris has already scored 20 touchdowns, good for 12th on the Redskins' all-time list.
The Redskins' sixth-round draft pick in 2012, Morris also received praise recently from ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio.
Appearing on CSN Washington, Florio was asked by Brian Mitchell whether Morris had been somewhat forgotten in all the talk about the team's other threats.
"I think he has been forgotten," Florio said, "because this is all happening in an age where teams have running backs by committee, and running backs aren't getting paid much money, and we're talking about passing the ball, and RGIII gets so much of the attention."
Florio then proceeded to rank Morris among the game's elite backs.
"Alfred Morris [is] quietly becoming the next in the line that currently stops with Adrian Peterson and LeSean McCoy, and soon Alfred Morris is going to be that guy who's in the discussion, 'Who's the best running back in the NFL?,' " Florio said. "And so this is a great asset for Washington to have and get the most out of him while he's still young enough and healthy enough to produce like that."
Further accolades may be coming. The NFL Network is in the midst of revealing its "Top 100 Players" of 2014. So far, five running backs have made the list, including San Francisco's Frank Gore (46), Detroit's Reggie Bush (85), Dallas's DeMarco Murray (87), Green Bay's Eddie Lacy (90) and Chicago's Matt Forte (91).
That leaves Morris, McCoy, Peterson, Jamal Charles of Kansas City and Marshawn Lynch of Seattle vying for spots among the final 20.
In terms of improvement by the 25-year-old Morris, Washington coach Jay Gruden mentioned in March that pass blocking and pass catching were things Morris could work on, both of which would help move the chains and keep Griffin healthy.
During two seasons, Morris has caught 20 passes for 155 yards. With defenses trying to cope with Reed and Washington's array of receivers, it makes sense for Gruden to divine more ways to get the ball to Morris out of the backfield.
Capitals GM Brian MacLellan: "We needed to shore up our defense, give us some depth, give us some experience, and I think we accomplished that."