Morris has been a slight disappointment this season, although the blame can’t be placed solely at the feet of the third-year back. Morris has 386 yards through the first six games, compared with 472 at this time last season. And even though Morris has six more carries (97) than he did at this point last year, it doesn’t feel as if Washington is as committed to the run as it claims.
“It is something we’ve just got to continue to stick with and I’ve got to do a better job of not giving up on it too soon, giving Alfred more cracks at it,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said.
Over the past three games, Morris has received 12, 13 and 13 carries, which is hardly enough for a lead running back to get in the kind of rhythm necessary to gain yards or for the offense to create enough balance to fool defenses.
“We have to run the ball,” fullback Darrel Young said. “I don’t remember [Morris] having a back-to-back game like this ever. He had 29 [yards] the week before and then 41? That’s not who we are.”
Morris hasn’t had a 100-yard rushing game since Week 10 last year, although he did tally 91 yards in the season opener against Houston. The Redskins as a team rank 23rd in the NFL in rushing, averaging 99.3 yards per game.
“We have little flashes here and there; we just can’t keep it going,” Morris told reporters after last week’s loss at Arizona.
Getting a handle on the running game is tricky: Is the offensive line at fault, having shifted away from the zone blocking scheme to a power-based one? Is Morris the classic “Shanahan back” who excels while under the former Redskins coach but is pedestrian on his own? Or has Washington simply played some solid run defenses (Seattle) and been forced to throw after falling way behind (New York Giants)?
“We’ve got to figure out a way to develop some more continuity,” offensive coordinator Sean McVay said. “We can be a little more consistent with sticking with it, Alfred can create a little bit better and we can do a better job up front.”
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