The Redskins entered the NFL draft last April expecting to select a franchise QB with the second pick of the first round. Nobody expected them to find their franchise Running Back in the sixth round when they selected Alfred Morris.
Alfred just didn’t have some success, he set the league on fire and broke records while powering the Redskins to the #1 ranked rushing offense in the NFL. His 1,614 rushing yards are a single season Redskins record, and 3rd on the all-time list for rushing yards by a rookie, trailing only Eric Dickerson and George Rogers.
Alfred is a complete running back who has a skill set that keeps defensive coordinators up at night. Running Backs are typically classified as front side runners or cut back runners, and a defense needs to deal with both in a different way. Front side runners AKA downhill runners, are backs like Marion Barber, Ron Dayne, and Brandon Jacobs. If a play s designed to go left through the B gap the RB is going for the B gap to run someone over or break a tackle.
Defenses deal with front-side runners by putting a SS in the box to the strong-side of the formation trying to get more players n the face of the Running Back. The backside defenders are not concerned with the cut back so they are focused on getting up-field to stop the train before it gets rolling.
Cut Back runners are guys that are capable of putting a foot in the ground and cutting into an area vacated by an over pursuing defender. A defense will typically move a SS down in the box to the backside of the formation waiting for the RB to run into an unblocked defender.
Alfred proved in 2012 that he is a complete back that will beat you with downhill running or cutting back across a defenders face. When you have a Running Back who can do both equally well then you have a franchise Running Back. He also is patient, physical,and knows how to set up his blocks.
Evan Royster saw the field in limited action this season and had no real impact of note.
Roy Helu jr’s season ended in September after going on Injured Reserve with foot and Achilles issues. He has been on the shelf for 4 months and still can not run, limited to a light jog during his workouts, and even those are painful. Not a good sign for a Running Back.
The Redskins have Alfred Morris and………… ?
How To Improve The Backfield:
As good as the offense was this season it was missing a dynamic player out of the backfield for 3rd down situations. The Shanahan’s have tried to find a 3rd down guy for years, Think back to 2011 when they extended an offer to Brian Westbrook. Roy Helu Jr appeared to seize the role last season but his future with the Redskins is in doubt. Money will be tight so the Redskins will have to take a mid-late round flyer on a player who can add more firepower to the offense.
The guy I’m intrigued by is Theo Riddick from Notre Dame. The 5-11 200lb Senior is a RB converted to WR then back to RB in his time under Brian Kelly. Not many Running Backs in college football can say they have 200+ carries and 100+ receptions. Washington likes to motion RB’s out wide to create match-up issues with a LB, Something we did not see a lot of with Morris this season.
Riddick is a decisive runner with good vision, leg drive, and moves to make you miss. In the pass game he runs good routes and gives you yards after catch ability.