Most of the attention in the Washington Redskins’ preseason opener Thursday night in Buffalo was on quarterback Robert Griffin III. But a couple pf other rookies, running back Alfred Morris and cornerback Richard Crawford, also helped themselves with their performances during the Redskins’ 7-6 win.
Morris, a sixth-round draft pick from Florida Atlantic, was the Redskins’ leading rusher in the game, with 54 yards on 15 carries.
“I thought I did pretty good for my first game,” Morris said late Thursday night. “I wasn’t nervous. I went out there and I executed all my assignments. So I feel real good. I didn’t make mental mistakes. . .I had no butterflies, which was surprising to me, actually.”
Morris handled more carries than any other Redskins runner on a night when none of the top candidates for the team’s starting tailback job did much to outdistance the competition. Evan Royster got the start and ran for 21 yards on seven carries. Royster found little running room behind the Redskins’ patchwork starting offensive line, and he and Griffin missed connections on a handoff to produce a turnover. Roy Helu had 17 rushing yards on four carries and Tim Hightower sat out the game.
Morris is not thought to be in the running for the starting tailback job. But Coach Mike Shanahan said at the outset of training camp that he really doesn’t know who will emerge as the team’s featured back, and left open the possibility that Morris could get into the mix with an eye-catching training camp and preseason. Even if he doesn’t become a significant factor in the starting competition, Morris could be a strong candidate for a spot on the season-opening roster or, if he doesn’t make that, the practice squad.