Mike Shanahan: Has He Found an Every-Down RB He Must Play in Alfred Morris?

Michelle McConnaugheyContributor IIIOctober 15, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 7: Alfred Morris #46 of the Washington Redskins runs the ball against the Atlanta Falcons at FedExField on October 7, 2012 in Landover, Maryland. The Falcons defeated the Redskins 24-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

Mike Shanahan does not need to look any further for his starting running back for the Washington Redskins. After opening up the opportunity for a new starter to take over at the beginning of the season, Alfred Morris looks as though he can claim his permanent role.

After being drafted in the sixth round from Florida Atlantic this year by the Redskins, the pressure was on Morris. Skepticism surrounded him when he was on the roster to start in Week 1, but after the first couple of weeks, the rookie already proved himself. After Week 5, Morris was the fourth-ranked running back in the league with 491 rushing yards. 

A rookie with those kinds of numbers should be getting more credit, but the focus in Washington has been Morris’ rookie teammate, Robert Griffin III

RGIII is the second-leading rusher for the team behind Morris. With the two of them becoming more cohesive and being able to develop their skills together, Shanahan has to be thrilled. 

During Sunday’s game, Griffin also broke the Redskins' franchise record for the most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a season. Between the two rookies, Griffin and Morris each have had five touchdowns so far this year; and it’s only the end of Week 6.   

Going into the matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, The Washington Post reported Morris has the ability to “join Larry Brown (1972) and John Riggins (1983) as the only backs in team history to open the season with at least 75 yards in each of the first six games of the season.” 

But that did not happen. He scored one touchdown in the second quarter and rushed for a total of 47 yards. Even though Morris did not rush as much as his fans wanted, he was still an important part of the offense, which was able to confuse the Vikings' defense in order for RGIII to be able to effectively run the ball into the end zone twice.  

Shanahan has been looking for a strong and effective running back since he took charge of the team. Roy Helu was the featured back in 2011, but he has been moved down to third string behind Morris and Evan Royster.

Morris has been able to prove himself with his strength and agility. He is able to play solid throughout the entire game, and it does not look like there is any end in sight to his success.