There's excitement surrounding the new weapons in the Washington Redskins passing game. There's potential there, with DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts to pair with holdovers Pierre Garcon and tight end Jordan Reed.
Hold on a minute, says another player. “The run game is always important,” Redskins running back Alfred Morris said. “They’re starting to devalue the running backs, but at the end of the day if you don’t have a ground game, you don’t have any game. That’s my take on it. I might be a little biased. It’s how I feel.”
But Morris is right that the run game, for Washington in particular, remains important. Or, at least, should. Here are some numbers from a story I wrote last week on Morris and the run game that makes it clear of his importance.
Last season, the Redskins ranked third in the NFL in yards per rush (4.78). They averaged 5.33 yards on zone-read carries and 4.65 on traditional runs; the latter number would have left them tied for third.
The Redskins actually led the NFL in rushing vs. seven-man fronts (275 times for an NFL-best 1,332 yards).
It’s not as if the Redskins’ coaches have said anything to suggest the run game won’t be a factor. But Morris never has been one to worry about his workload. “It doesn’t matter whether we get 20 carries a game or 40,” he said. “We just have to make the most of them.” Nor does he feel any different after two seasons and a combined 611 regular-season carries. But one thing that impressed the coaches as a rookie was his ability to withstand punishment and not get worn down. “I’m feeling a lot better, a lot more confident,” Morris said. “Whether it’s the beginning of the season or the end of the season, the beginning of the game or end of the game, I get better and better. That’s just how I am. I’m a workhorse. I can take a heavy workload. It doesn’t really bother me whether I get minimal carries or maximum. It doesn’t matter how much it is. I’m out here to get better and help my team. [But] the more I do, the better I get.”