WASHINGTON, August 30, 2013 — Alfred Morris stood at the top of the mountain. In the final game of the 2012 season, Morris had shattered the franchise’s single season rushing record by almost 100 yards with 1,613 yards. Morris surpassed the record set by Clinton Portis in 2006 with 1,516 yards.
Putting together the greatest single season by a running back for the Redskins franchise should have been difficult enough to begin with, but Morris did it in his rookie season. If that was not impressive enough, Morris capped the season with a 200-yard, three touchdown performance that downed the Dallas Cowboys and won the NFC East title for the Redskins for the first time in the 21st century.
Morris’ numbers certainly place him among the elite running backs. His 1,613 yards were second in the NFL only to Adrian Peterson, the reigning MVP, and Morris led the NFC in rushing touchdowns with 13, second only to Arian Foster in the NFL. Not only did Alfred Morris break the franchise single season rushing record, but he also broke Hall of Fame Redskin Charley Taylor’s franchise rookie record of ten touchdowns in a season.
With expectations raised, eyes will be on Morris to see if he can repeat his success from last year and prove that his rookie year was no fluke. There are many good reasons to believe that Morris will continue to put up monster numbers.
With RG3 coming back from his knee injury, it is unlikely that he’ll be doing the kind of running that saw him stack up 815 rushing yards last season. That will leave the bulk of the rushing duties to Morris who was third in the league in carries last year averaging a strong 4.8 yards per carry. Morris was able to do this all without the benefit of any long breakaway runs that tend to help inflate the stats of running backs. The longest run for the Florida Atlantic alumnus last year was a 39-yard touchdown against Tampa Bay.
Many have argued that Morris’ success has been the result of the read-option employed by offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. However, that may not be the whole story. Drawing parallels to Clinton Portis, many of Morris’ signature runs last year involved breaking multiple tackles and plowing through defensive lines for extra yardage. Shanahan had this to say about his rookie running back, “Alfred’s a beast. I think one guy or about three guys all year tackled him on the first tackle. That guy runs as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen. …Alfred is as good of a back as I’ve ever had. He’s the real deal.”
For another reason to look for a strong sophomore season from Morris, one only needs to look back at how he started the preseason last year. When he arrived at Redskins training camp, Morris was an unknown sixth round draft pick from a relatively obscure school. He had little expectation to even make the 53 man roster, let alone be the starter. Morris surprised many when he claimed the starting job over Roy Helu Jr., Evan Royster and Tim Hightower.
Alfred Morris has also gained the admiration and respect of his peers and teammates. When asked who he thought should win Rookie of the Year, RGIII, the eventual winner, did not hesitate to answer. “My vote would go to Alfred Morris.”
Another Morris supporter who was actually in his shoes just a few years ago was Clinton Portis. During an interview on 106.7 The Fan near the end of the season, Portis gave his support to the Redskin rookie. “I’m actually rooting for him…I think Alfred Morris is a class act, a young guy who came in and handled things properly and did it the right way. You never really hear him boast and brag about his accomplishments. …I just see him as a tough runner, …The first guy never tackles him.”
With his teammates behind him and the numbers to back it up, it seems as if the sky is the limit for the soft spoken 24 year old running back who keeps winning over critics, and shattering expectations. Hopefully, this is just the beginning.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.