Against the Bucs, for the third straight week, Alfred Morris could not get going running the football.
On Sunday he carried six times for five yards. That’s 0.8 yards per carry. That comes on the heels of rushing eight times for 11 yards against the Falcons (1.8 per carry) and 11 for 21 yards (1.9) against the Jets.
That’s not good.
All offseason long, Jay Gruden talked about Morris remaining the “lead dog” at running back despite the addition of rookie Matt Jones and the emergence of Chris Thompson at the position.
If you go by number of carries, Morris remains the lead dog. He has 91 rushing attempts, more than Jones (63) and Thompson (19) combined. But the NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” league and Gruden can’t overlook Morris’ low production in the past few weeks.
“We've got to get Alfred going, no question about it,” he said. “He didn't get many good looks again yesterday and in the last three weeks it's been rough outings for him as far as the touches that he gets haven't been pretty.”
It’s hard to separate where Morris problems end and those of the entire running game begin. The Redskins have averaged 45 yards per game on the ground over the last three games so nobody has been very productive. So Gruden will continue to try to get carries for both Morris and Jones.
“I still intend on using both of them, though,” he said. “I think Matt does a great job of coming in and giving a different flavor as far as running backs go, a little bigger. I think both of them will get their touches but we have to get Alfred going but we're not giving up on Alfred just because he's had three tough weeks in a row. It's not all Alfred actually.”
Certainly, it’s not all Morris but Jones does seem to be a bit more effective lately with 20 carries for 49 yards in his last two games (he missed the game against the Jets with a toe injury). We will see how it plays out over the rest of the season.