Can Alfred Morris Keep Up Record-Setting Pace?
The Redskins are in turmoil. At 3-6 even Mike Shanahan is starting to have some doubts about this season, but lost in all the drama surrounding Washington is the fact that Alfred Morris is having a monster year.
So far Morris is a top-five running back in the league with 793 yards and five touchdowns. For a rookie sixth-round pick, those are absolutely ridiculous numbers at this point in the season. And there's no sign that he's stopping.
Morris is three touchdowns behind the Redskins' rookie record of eight in a season, although fellow rookie Robert Griffin III could beat him to that mark. Morris already set the single-game record for a rookie with 120 yards against the Giants.
But while he's had a dominant season so far, there's no reason to think he won't get better after the Redskins' bye week. Jammal Brown has finally been cleared to practice and should replace Tyler Polumbus, who's been less than impressive. That should (hopefully) open up the right side of the line and allow Morris to bounce outside more.
If Pierre Garcon comes back for the last half of the season, he should break the passing game open and allow Morris to get more room as defenses start respecting the pass. I'd say that Garcon coming back is looking like a long shot right now, but you can never tell with foot injuries.
Looking at the remainder of the Redskins' schedule, there's no one left who's been shutting down the run this season. Dallas statistically has been the best, but the loss of Sean Lee will really hurt its defense. Other than the Cowboys, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Carolina and Atlanta have all been better against the run than anyone Washington will face in the coming weeks.
The Redskins aren't likely to change their offensive scheme, so Morris should keep getting his touches. If he keeps his 4.8 yards-per-carry average going, there's no reason not to think Morris could end up with a 1,500 yard season and even break Clinton Portis' Redskin record of 1,516 yards in a season.
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