Washington Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris was encouraged by his debut performance, when he rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns on a league-high 28 carries. But Morris said after reviewing the game individually and with his coaches, he saw plenty of room for improvement.
Morris got off to a slow start, managing only 21 yards on his nine first-half carries. He was better in the second half, gaining 75 yards on 19 carries in the third and fourth quarters combined.
“It would’ve been a lot better if I could’ve gotten something better early on,” Morris said Thursday. “I knew I was going to chip, chip, chip away and eventually, something was going to open up, and it definitely did, especially in the second half.”
Morris said the early struggles had less to do with his offensive line and more to do with his own technique. The 5-foot-10, 218-pound back believes he could have done a better job of getting to the line and picking his cutback lanes.
“I had a horrible track last week,” Morris said. “It was way too tight. It definitely affected some of the runs that we had. I wasn’t able to get outside because of the track I had. I’m definitely going to work on that this week. It’s one of those things you have to continue to pay attention and not get too comfortable, because it does make a difference.”
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan agreed.
“The things you can’t see are some of the things that he did: maybe a little too tight of an angle in a game. Linebacker and safety blitzes are things that he will get better with experience. But you need to play.”
Morris didn’t receive many opportunities to prove himself on blitz pickups because Roy Helu Jr. took his place on most passing plays. But in the area of getting a better jump at the snap and taking better angles behind the line, he said he must avoid the temptation to f take his eyes off the line just before he gets a handoff.
“Just trusting Robert, knowing he’ll get me the ball, not looking at the handoff and not looking at him because it takes my eyes off of what I’m looking at,” Morris said. “Just trusting. It’s an old habit that I picked up in college because I had some bad exchanges. So, just breaking that. I broke it, but it’s crept back in. Like the old saying, old habits die hard. But I’m going to keep working to kill it.”