Alfred Morris makes most of opportunity

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Alfred Morris knows he has to make the most of his opportunities in the next two games because that’s likely the last time he’ll get an extended chance to showcase his skills before he hits the free-agent market after the season.
Morris is coming off one of the best games in his career, rushing for 127 yards on 27 carries in the Dallas Cowboys’ 38-14 victory over the Washington Redskins. He’s surely looking forward to facing the league’s worst run defense in the New York Giants (giving up 130.7 yards a game) this Sunday.
“It’s good that I can get some film out there to kind of show that I’ve still got this – because I still do,” Morris said. “I know a lot of people say ‘He’s washed out’ and that type of stuff, but I don’t listen to them.”
Morris, who turns 29 next week, is set to hit free agency for the second time in his career this off-season. He signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract with the Cowboys on March 22, 2016 with the thought he’d have a significant role.
The next month, though, the Cowboys used the fourth overall pick in the draft on Ezekiel Elliott and Morris was relegated to spot duty. He got a limited number of carries last season and was inactive for a couple games as Elliott became the workhorse.
Going into this season, the possibility existed that Morris could be cut or traded before the regular-season opener. But he passed Darren McFadden on the Cowboys’ depth chart in training camp and has been Elliott’s primary replacement during his suspension.
Morris knows his playing time will diminish once Elliott returns.
“Who knows what happens when Zeke comes back – I’ll be right back in my old role,” Morris said. “But I’m going to try my best help my team even in that aspect – so just make the most of these next two games, and really this next game because that’s all that matters right now.”
On paper, Morris and the Cowboys should be in for another solid day running the ball against the Giants. New York has the worst run defense in the league and has been gashed multiple times for big plays.
The Giants have given up more than 100 yards on the ground in 10 of their 11 games, including 186 yards two weeks ago to the San Francisco 49ers who rank 22nd in the league in rushing.
“There’s not one single area. There’s been a little bit of injury issues, in and out and some lack of continuity. But there’s no excuses,” interim coach and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said on a conference call this week. “The guys who go in there have to play. And what we’ve been kind of hit with here and there, which makes the stats look terrible, is there’s been some explosive plays in the run game that have really killed us.
“It hasn’t been every play. I can find snaps in there where we look really good defensive-wise, but we’ve got to be more consistent in what we do. This attack we’re going to see this week presents a lot of problems in that they’ll zone block real good and they can pull people and get to the edge. So we’re working hard on that and hopefully we can find a way to slow it down this weekend.”
Morris is known as one of the top zone runners in the league. That’s what made him successful early in his career with the Redskins, and of late with the Cowboys.
Offensive linemen rave about how Morris reads blocks and hits the hole. He knows when to settle for a 2-yard run as opposed to trying to turn it into something that simply isn’t there.
“He’s one of those guys that is always moving forward, very rarely takes negative plays,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. “He’s just got a feel for the game. He’s got a patient run style, which a lot of guys get in a hurry to get up in there. He runs with a really good pace, but he doesn’t outrun his blocks. I think that’s a big part of why he is one of those guys that can just sustain the ability to take the ball 25 times a game and be productive and at the end of the day he’s probably going to average a little over 4 yards per carry, and that’s what you have to do in this league.”
Morris’ 27 carries against the Redskins were his most since his rookie season in 2012.
Morris said he’s just happy to be back up and running, much like his beloved 1991 Mazda 626. Morris updated reporters on the status of his lifelong car after getting it back from the shop on Saturday, two days after his big game.
“I got my baby back,” Morris said, smiling. “That’s all that matters.”

Alfred Morris makes most of opportunity Alfred Morris makes most of opportunity Reviewed by Tzuki on 9:05:00 AM Rating: 5

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