D.C. native Josh Morgan knows the stakes in Sunday’s Redskins-Cowboys game

December 28, 2012

Josh Morgan scores against Philadelphia despite LB DeMeco Ryans’s attempt to corral him. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Wide receiver Josh Morgan’s perspective on Sunday’s showdown with the Cowboys may be unique among his teammates’, but it’s probably typical among fans. As the only D.C. native on the Redskins’ roster, Morgan has a keen sense of what Sunday night means, beyond the chance to win a division and clinch a playoff spot.

“I don’t think words are going to express how important this game is, for me as well as the team,” Morgan said. “Definitely for me, being from here, the way this season has been going, to have an opportunity that we have, everything that’s at stake with the whole rivalry throughout the years. Also being the NFC East champs. It’s everything. A division title. Playoffs. The Cowboys. It’s everything. I don’t think words can express. Basically, it’s like our Super Bowl, for real.”

In his first season with his hometown team, Morgan, who attended H.D. Woodson, has shown his Washington sports fandom. He attended several Nationals playoff games, including their Game 5 collapse against the St. Louis Cardinals. (Count Morgan among the masses who wished the Nationals had not shut down Stephen Strasburg.) He’s also attended several Wizards game this season.

Growing up, Morgan never attended a Cowboys-Redskins game. His first was Thanksgiving day, and his first in Washington will be Sunday. When asked about his ticket demand for this week, Morgan only chuckled.

“I’ve had a lot of people ask me for tickets,” Morgan said. “But everybody knows if you wasn’t in my circle, you’re not getting my tickets. I got a good amount of people coming to the game, showing their support.”

After signing a two-year, $12 million deal with $7.5 million guaranteed during the offseason, Morgan has caught 48 passes, four short of his career high, for 510 yards. He has scored a touchdown in two of the Redskins’ past three games, and against the Browns he powered to the 1-yard line after hauling in a short pass.

The Redskins have taken advantage of Morgan’s powerful running ability by throwing him short passes, and later in the season they have worked him into the offense more. Morgan finished last season on injured reserve with a broken leg, and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Morgan had not fully recovered by the start of the season.

“He had a serious injury coming here,” Shanahan said. “His ankle still has screws in there. He was not as sharp with his cuts and everything. As the year has gone on, he’s gotten a lot more healthy. I think he understands his role in the offense better.

“We’ve been happy with Josh all year, there’s no doubt about that. But I think he’s gotten healthier and more comfortable here in the last few weeks. I think his game has taken a step to another level.”

Adam Kilgore covers the Nationals for The Washington Post.
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