Why Alfred Morris, Not RGIII, Is Key to Redskins Victory over Giants

Brian Paxton@@thebrianpaxtonContributor IIIOctober 17, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 14:  Alfred Morris #46 of the Washington Redskins runs the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the first half at FedExField on October 14, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Yes, Robert Griffin III is the man. He is the end-all, be-all of this Redskins team. Fred Davis even went so far as to label him the "Black Jesus." But the key to beating the defending Super Bowl champions isn't the face of the franchise, but the lesser known rookie phenom.

Alfred Morris is quietly putting together a monster season. Through six games, he ranks fourth in the league with 538 rushing yards and is tied for third with five touchdowns. That combined with his 4.6 yards per carry and 89.7 yards per game makes him one of the better backs in the league right now.

This Redskin offense rests largely on the ability to force defenses to pick their poison between Griffin's arms, legs or Alfred Morris. Last week, the Vikings focused on shutting down Morris which opened things up for Griffin to do his thing.

We don't know what the Giants will try to do against RGIII and Morris, but the offensive attack requires a legitimate rushing threat to keep defenses honest. Enter Morris.

Morris got abused against the Vikings on play-action and zone-read plays because they made a point to go after him. He was hit on virtually every play, which takes a defender out of the play with him. It's the small things like that that make this offense so dangerous.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Apart from opening up the offense, Morris has the unique ability to pick up tough yards and grind it out. Picking up at least four yards on first or second down makes third down that much easier, and keeps Eli Manning and the Giants off the field.

Look for Washington to run the ball often to keep the defense off the field. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks (providing he's healthy) are arguably the most deadly wide receiver tandem in the league. If they get going, it's over. The best way to defend against them is to keep them off the field entirely.

If Morris gets going early, the Giants will have to adjust and take some pressure off RGIII. Undoubtedly, they plan to blitz him often to force him into mistakes. That's much harder to do if they're worried about Morris gashing them.

The rushing game is the most important part of this team. Griffin and Morris right now make Washington the best rushing team in the NFL. But they can only be that dangerous when they both get opportunities.

When Griffin went down against the Falcons, Atlanta stacked the box and forced Kirk Cousins to throw. The result was no running room for Morris and two costly turnovers by a rookie quarterback forcing throws that weren't there.

Conversely, Morris is by far the strongest runner on this team. Evan Royster and Ryan Grant may come in on some offensive plays, but they don't have the ability to break through contact and fall forward like Morris. Without him, there's a much stronger possibility of Griffin facing third and longs, which the Redskins struggle mightily with.

So while it may be a bit presumptive to say that Morris is more important to the Redskins beating the Giants then Griffin, the two need each other to be successful.

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!