Washington Redskins: What Can We Expect from Alfred Morris in 2014?

Dilan AmesCorrespondent IJanuary 16, 2014

Dec 1, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris signs autographs prior to the Redskins game against the New York Giants at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since coming into the league, Alfred Morris has proved himself as one of the best running backs in the NFL. In just two seasons, Morris has accumulated 2,888 yards with 20 touchdowns. He's been a consistent workhorse for the Redskins and has excelled in the zone-blocking scheme plugged in by the old regime.

Now that Jay Gruden is in charge, will we see a change in Morris' output? The answer is yes—for the better; Gruden's system is extremely running back-friendly.

There were only seven teams that ran the ball more than Gruden did with the Cincinnati Bengals, meaning that opposing defenses will be getting a hefty dose of Morris game after game. Due to Robert Griffin III passing more and Roy Helu stealing some carries from him, Morris' numbers were down a bit in 2013, but they should be beefed back up in 2014.

Dec 29, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris (46) is tackled by New York Giants strong safety Antrel Rolle (26) in the first quarter during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY S
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

Considering RGIII will finally be fully healthy and the passing game will once again be at its best, it should open things up in the running game for Morris and Co.

He's well on his way to becoming the franchise's all-time rushing leader, as he sits just 12th for now.

Morris has averaged 306 carries and 1,444 yards through his first two seasons, and if you extrapolate that through the upcoming 2014 season, he will have a career total of 4,332 yards. That would make him the fifth-leading rusher in Redskins history in just three years with the team.

Expect Washington to build around and off of its running backs in 2014 in order to open up the pass. Morris is the most dependable player the Redskins have on offense and is becoming a leader more and more, making his role that much more vital.

Washington's offensive line did a solid job of protecting Morris the past few seasons, but will more than likely be upgrading certain positions through the draft and free agency, molding an even better wall for Morris to run behind. They have a star player in Trent Williams on the left side of their line and are pretty solid in the middle—it's the right side of their line, more specifically Tyler Polumbus, that is the issue.

Polumbus, although decent, just is not a starting caliber player and will need to be replaced this offseason. Once the Redskins do that and have a solid pair of bookend tackles, Morris' production could spike.

Once 2014 starts up, Morris could become a lot more than a great runner for the Redskins. Washington will be losing its locker room leader London Fletcher to retirement, and Morris could very well step in and be the guy to take his place. Although quiet, Morris' impact as a player and blue collar attitude garners the attention and respect of his teammates which will go a long way in this new regime they are ushering in.

He started off as Mike Shanahan's next late-round gem, but he's become Gruden'shiny new toy. Morris could be more efficient than ever in 2014.


All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.