ASHBURN, Va. -- The production hasn't been there since the season opener and it continues to get worse. It's not what Alfred Morris or the Washington Redskins are used to -- and it's something that must change over the final nine games. If not, it could be the final nine of his Redskins' career.
Not all the issues are Morris' alone. He's gained just 9 yards before contact in the last three games -- he had 75 such yards in the season opener. That's a function of getting hit behind the line of scrimmage too often. But Morris hasn't helped himself, either, whether by breaking tackles or hitting holes quicker.
Here's a look at Morris' six carries against Tampa Bay and what went wrong:
First-and-10, own 20. Loss of 1 yard. The Redskins used a three-receiver alignment, forcing Tampa into a six-man box (with a seventh defender, the safety, walking up late). Morris ran an outside zone to the left for a loss.
The culprit: Left tackle Trent Williams was moved back 2 to 3 yards, forcing Morris to cut inside earlier than desired. Center Josh LeRibeus lost his block and right guard Brandon Scherff could not reach the linebackers -- they were positioned just 3 yards off the line, clearly anticipating a run.
First-and-10, own 21. Gain of 1. The Redskins had two tight ends in the game and Tampa countered with an eight-man front. The linebackers, again, were 3 yards off the line. Morris again ran to his left with no success as he tried to cut back.
The culprit: Once again, Morris had to make his first cut 3 yards deep in the backfield. When he cut, there were four Buccaneers on the other side of the line of scrimmage. Not good. But Morris' lack of burst was evident, too. There was briefly a cutback alley, but Morris appeared to hesitate a little and by the time he cut back the gap was gone.
Second-and-1, own 35. No gain. Again, an eight-man front with two tight ends and a fullback in the game. Morris ran to the left side -- again -- and was tackled from behind.
The culprit: Nobody blocked end William Gholston, who came from his left end position to make the tackle. Right tackle Morgan Moses looked inside first, then attempted to shove Gholston as he turned the corner -- but Moses missed. This also could be an example of Morris' lack of quickness, too, but if Gholston had been shoved at all then Morris picks up the first down and a couple extra yards.
Second-and-8, own 16. Gain of 2. From the pistol formation, the Redskins had three receivers to the left and one to the right and faced a seven-man front. Morris wanted to hit a hole up the middle, but he instead was met with defenders.
The culprit: The blocking was messed up again. Scherff initially set back, as if waiting to take on the end -- but Moses instead blocked down on him. Then Scherff turned and helped LeRibeus briefly and started to go to the linebacker, but he ran into a defender who had beaten left guard Spencer Long (he did not anticipate the end, positioned across from Williams, shooting inside the guard). Trouble.
First-and-10, own 26. Loss of 2 yards. Morris ran an outside zone to the right, starting up then following fullback Darrel Young around the edge. But he never got there as two linebackers got to him.
The culprit: The Redskins doubled two linemen -- but they never got to the linebackers. So two Bucs defenders occupied four blockers, leaving the linebackers free. Morris did not help himself by being unable to turn the corner, a problem this season. Morris initially took an inside path before turning wide. But, again, when two defensive linemen take care of four blockers, it's a problem.
First-and-10, own 46. Gain of 5 yards. Another eight-man front as the Redskins used a bunch formation to the left. This time, Morris started up the middle, then cut through left guard for his best gain of the day.
The culprit: This run was a good one on first down, but it could have been more had Spencer Long won his matchup vs. the linebacker. Morris gained 3 yards after contact.