Connect with us

Dallas Cowboys

A Case For Alfred Morris

Photo: Keith Allison / Flickr

A Case For Alfred Morris

In a crowded backfield of Ezekiel Elliot, Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris, Ronnie Hillman, and Rod Smith, it is easy to forget who Alfred Morris once was, a two time Pro-Bowler with three 1000 yard seasons to his name.  While it is highly unlikely that the Dallas Cowboys will carry five running backs into the season (even with the possible suspension to Zeke hovering over the team) a case for Alfred Morris should be made.

Alfred Morris is a heavy hitting running back. At 5’10 224 pounds, he is like a refrigerator being pushed down a hill when he gets momentum behind him. Some backs need numerous reps each game before they are able to best use their abilities, and Morris is one of them. Unlike McFadden and Elliot, Morris doesn’t have breakaway speed, and relies on his heavy frame to bruise defenders. When given enough reps in a live game, Morris’ strength and power can really soften up a defensive front-seven. Alfred Morris only had 69 rush attempts in 2016. That amount of reps is too small for any running back, even a running back like Zeke, to take full advantage of his abilities.

I realize Alfred Morris’ stat line went down every year from 2012-2016 in D.C, but I wonder how much of that has to do with the dysfunction at quarterback that Washington had experienced since the rise and fall of Robert Griffin III. It wasn’t until 2016 that Kirk Cousins really solidified his position, maybe that in addition to the Redskins’ struggles to implement a new offensive scheme had something to do with Morris’ decline?  I also realize that compared to the Cowboy coaching staff, I know comparably less about evaluating running back talent, but I can’t shake the feeling that Alfred Morris isn’t done yet.

After re-watching every one of Alfred Morris’ snaps from the 2016 regular season, three things stick out, and two of them are positive.

 He almost always breaks through a solo-tackle.

Just watching his film of last season alone, this was very noticeable. When Morris makes contact with a defender, he lowers his shoulders and makes contact with a solid base. Its his ability to not only absorb a defender’s impact, but to generate his own that wears out a linebacker or defensive back over time.

He catches passes out of the backfield pretty well

One thing that stuck out to me while watching Morris’ 2016 season, was his ability to catch those hard-to-reach passes out of the backfield. He is comfortable catching passes with defenders around him, unusual for a back of his build. Usually power backs struggle with passes that are contested or force them to make an athletic grab (Jay Ajayi for example).

He doesn’t take the ball outside the tackles much

Morris is primarily a North-South runner. It became apparent after watching his play last season that he oftentimes prefers to run through a hole which is no longer open, than to bounce the ball outside of the tackles. While he doesn’t need to change his style of play (he is a really good bruising running back), I would like to see him take more chances in the open field if the situation demands it. Morris has a good spin move, I would like to see him use it more.

The closer we get to the regular season, the more apparent it becomes that Dallas wont use any of their running backs as trade bait. If the Cowboys were going to trade a running back for a high-profit return, it probably would have happened by now. The bottom line is that a running back is going to be released, only to be snagged by another team.

Why not give Morris one more chance? A bigger load of reps behind the best offensive line in the league, it could help revitalize his career. Then you could really trade him for a valuable asset, or keep Morris and trade McFadden instead (I bet his 2015 season helped improve his trade value once again). Either way, Alfred Morris deserves another chance in 2017.

Staff writer and podcast host covering the Dallas Cowboys | Spreading my slightly biased sports opinions with anyone wise enough to listen.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Recent Posts