Alfred Morris on pass protection: ‘You have to see everything’


Alfred Morris heads upfield with ball during day 6 of Redskins training camp. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

RICHMOND – After two seasons and almost 2,900 yards rushing, running back Alfred Morris knows a lot about the NFL. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with less-experienced backs, especially about pass protection.

For backs, being able to pick up the blitz is more important than being fast. Through hard work, Morris became an effective blocker. He strongly encourages other backs to hone the skill.

“One of the main reasons why [some] big-name running backs in college don’t make it in the pros is because [they] can’t pass-pro and can’t read blitzes,” Morris said. “If you can’t protect the quarterback, who is the franchise, then you won’t be on the field.”

After Morris was drafted, he quickly learned how little he knew about pass protection. In college, Morris was assigned to protect only one side of the field. In the NFL, “you have to do a full-field scan. It can be very difficult.

“There’s so much going on in your head. … At first, everything’s bouncing around. You may look to one side too much, and then a cornerback blitzes off the edge, sacks your quarterback and you’re back on the bench.”

The key, Morris said, is to stay calm and survey the whole field. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

“You have to see everything,” he said. “For me being in my third year now, the game has slowed down.”

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:

Washington is next on the field for a 4:10 p.m. walkthrough. Here’s our camp guide, if you’re planning to attend.

Also from The Post:

Clark and Moss perfect the art of playing into their mid-30s

Lauvao makes strides, adjusts to Wash. offense

Gruden explains his roster-culling philosophy

Reid: Redskins should keep Hatcher out of preseason

More NFL coverage: Home page | D.C. Sports Bog | The Early Lead | Fancy Stats

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

Jason Reid is a sports columnist with the Washington Post. He joined the Post’s Redskins team in 2007 after 15 years covering many beats at the Los Angeles Times.
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Mike Jones · July 31

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