Next to quarterback Robert Griffin III, the biggest reason for the Redskins’ success last season was their sixth-round draft pick, Alfred Morris. Morris turned heads during the season, going from a training camp body to a Rookie of the Year candidate. Morris hails from Pensacola, Florida and attended Florida Atlantic. He was considered an afterthought after being drafted with the 173rd pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, but continually moved up the depth chart. Morris replaced Tim Hightower, who lead the Redskins in the 2011 season before injuring his knee in a regular season game against the Panthers.
Morris ran for 195 yards in the 39 carries that he was given during the preseason. His name didn’t start picking up steam until he burst on to the scene in the third week of the preseason with a 107-yard performance on only 14 carries against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. Morris also sat out the last game of the preseason against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In the Regular Season opener against the New Orleans Saints, Redskins fans got to see more than one rookie’s spectacular performance. Robert Griffin III was dazzling in the regular season opener, with 362 all-purpose yards, and two passing touchdowns. Lost in Griffin III’s debut was that of Alfred Morris, who ran for 96 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Throughout the season, Alfred Morris was a consistent force in the Redskins backfield, even outperforming Browns RB Trent Richardson, who was drafted 170 picks ahead of him. The efforts of Morris and Griffin III resulted in a revitalized Redskins rush attack that finished the season atop the NFL.
Fortunately for the Redskins, Morris saved his best performance for the most important game the Redskins had played in almost 6 years. “In an NFC East Championship Game”, at Fed Ex Field against the despised Dallas Cowboys, Morris had three rushing touchdowns and ran for 200 yards, which brought his regular season total to 1,613, eclipsing a previous rushing record held by former Redskins RB Clinton Portis. Morris’ tremendous season validated his nomination for the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year award, which was ultimately won by Griffin III.
Ever since Portis played his last game with the Redskins, the team had searched high and low for a running back that provide a spark to on the offensive side of the ball. Although the Redskins drafted two running backs this past April, Morris should remain confident in his that he can once again lead the Redskins in rushing. One of the positives about Mike Shanahan’s offensive mindset is his ability to find running backs in the later rounds of the draft. The Redskins offense can go far if Morris turns out to play the same role that Terrell Davis, who was also drafted by Shanahan, played.