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Washington would love to get the ball to Alfred Morris more, especially against Dallas' defense.
Associated Press | File September
Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris escapes the diving grasp of Detroit Lions free safety Louis Delmas to score a touchdown.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
ASHBURN — When Alfred Morris has a big game, the Redskins have a better passing attack.
When the Redskins are clicking in the passing game, it frees up holes for Alfred Morris to run through.
This chicken-or-egg scenario describes the state of Washington’s offense, which is waiting for something to go right with either unit.
So far, Morris hasn’t been able to build on his stellar rookie season. The Skins are 2-8 when he receives fewer than 20 touches in a game — the most he’s had in a game this year is 16.
“We believe in the running game,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “Usually teams that can run the football have a lot of success. We will always have that philosophy. Hopefully this week we can kind of get back to where we’ve been, as far as running the football, the play-action and those types of things.”
While Morris’ numbers are down, his effectiveness is not. He’s averaging 5.3 yards per carry this year, compared to 4.8 yards per carry last year.
Several of the team’s players expressed a desire to run the ball more this week, citing its impact in all areas of the game.
“Alfred is the workhorse in the offense,” receiver Pierre Garcon said. “That gets the whole offense open when he’s running guys over. It gets me amped up, and the whole offense amped up.”
Morris was heading towards 20 carries against Oakland in Week 4, but had to leave with bruised ribs. He said he’ll be back at full strength this Sunday.
As for any personal frustrations with his lack of impact plays, Morris shrugged that off.
“I’m blessed enough to be in the NFL, and I don’t take that for granted,” he said. “Whether I’m getting the ball or not, I love what I do.”
Fullback Darrel Young said Morris doesn’t just talk that way, his actions in the locker room reflect it.
“He’s not that arrogant guy that needs to have the ball,” Young said. “He’s one of the coolest guys that I’ve been around that’s in a superstar role. It’s cool to see that he’s still humble.”
The clock is ticking, though, on getting the Redskins season jump-started.
Washington has a great opportunity to do that over the next few weeks, as it faces some of the league’s worst defenses. The Cowboys are allowing 409 yards per game so far this season.
Skins quarterback Robert Griffin III said getting Morris rolling isn’t just useful for the receivers, but can also take heat off the linemen.
“They don’t like to just sit back there and pass block all the time,” Griffin said. “They like to get their feet dirty and their hands dirty in there in the running game.”
Shanahan said the game plan will have an eye towards getting Morris rolling, but some of it is based on game scenarios.
“He can’t dictate how many times he gets the ball,” Shanahan said. “He understands those carries will come, and when they do come, he wants to take advantage of the opportunities.”
Young is counting on Morris to reclaim his old form, and thinks the rest of the offense will follow suit.
“At the end of the day, you’ve just got to find what you do best and go with it,” he said. “I think we’ve found that running the ball was successful for us. It opened up the play action, it opened up the deep ball, and we made big plays when we needed to.”
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