Happy Thoughts: Alfred Morris Looks a Heckuva Lot Like Terrell Davis
- Updated: September 18, 2012
If you asked me to describe the Washington Redskins of the last 15 years in a word, you might think I would use something within the four letter variety. But when I really think about it, I would probably have to go simply with the word “old”.
When you look at the list of “superstars” this franchise has had post Y2K, few of them have been homegrown. In fact, most of them have been past their prime has-beens looking for one more pay day.
Thankfully, those days are gone.
If asked to describe the 2012 Redskins I would use the polar opposite description: youth.
More than anything, this season’s Redskins are young. With an average age of 26, the Redskins have gone from being the oldest team in the league 3 short seasons ago to one of the youngest.
At every position, there are young, hungry players that just cannot wait to make their mark in the NFL.
While it is clear through the first two weeks that the story is 100% RG3 and Griffining, there are other rookies on this team that you just cannot ignore. One of those players is rookie Running Back Alfred Morris.
Through two games Morris has been fantastic, leaving no question as to why he won the starting job at RB when just a few short months ago most people expected the sixth round pick to spend 2012 on the practice squad.
While the sample size is extremely small at this point, Morris has been outstanding. His 185 rushing yards, two touchdowns and his impressive 4.2 yards per carry have many wondering if Morris is for real, and if he is, just how good can he be.
It’s no secret that Mike Shanahan came to Washington with a reputation of finding diamonds in the rough at running back. Unfairly, every Redskins back since Shanahan’s arrival in 2010 has been subject to the inevitable questions, “Is player x the next great Shanahan back? Can he be the next Terrell Davis?”
Call it a hunch, call it blind faith, call it a man-crush – whatever. I have not been as impressed with a young back as I have with Morris in a very long time. So while it is not “fair” to put Morris in the “T.D.” box, it sure is fun.
When comparing Morris to the legendary T.D., there are some pretty fun similarities. For example, Davis was a 5-11 210lb back who posted a 4.72 40 time. Drafted in the 6th round, he was the 196th player drafted in 1995 – interesting.
Seventeen years later, Mike Shanahan goes back into the 6th round with the 173 overall pick to grab Morris, a 5-10 217 lb back who notched a 4.67 40 time – curious.
Not to even mention that Morris through two games has been far better than Davis was back in ’95 (31 attempts, 131 yards, and a 4.22 ypc with 1 TD).
While all of this could very well prove to be absolutely meaningless, the fact is – based on both the statistical and biological numbers – Mike Shanahan knows that a back like Morris can be perfect for this system. He has done this before.
Forget the comparison to Davis for a moment; Morris seems to be getting better and better with every carry. His 3.4 yards per carry average in week one jumped to 5.6 in week two, not to mention that if he can continue putting up the yards he has through two games, we are looking at a potential 1,500 yard back for the first time since Clinton Portis in 2005.
While the numbers have been impressive, and they could continue at their current rate, the thing that truly makes Morris special can’t be measured in a stat line.
The kid has what so many players in today’s NFL lack: heart.
In an era where the overwhelming majority of players boast an unfounded sense of entitlement, the grateful Morris is a breath of fresh air (and a reminder of how the game used to be played).
While the jersey sales, commercials, and magazine covers belong to the Redskins rookie Quarterback Phenom, the franchise may have quietly found their next great franchise running back in a place absolutely no one expected to find him.
Well, almost no one.