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Alfred Morris: 'I Was Made For This'

This time two years ago, Alfred Morris was a rookie simply fighting for the opportunity to make the final 53-man roster.

Starting duties weren't even considered for the sixth-round pick by some, as the team was returning a hearty group of skilled players at the running back position.

Fast forward to 2014 to training camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center, and Morris has started the last 32 regular-season games and has bucked an emerging trend in the NFL that has seen worth of running backs deteriorate.

Regardless of what other teams choose to do with their running backs, first-year head coach Jay Gruden understands what he has in Morris.

"He views me as a valuable part of this offense at a time when a lot of teams are starting to devalue running backs," Morris said. "We're very important. I'm excited with all the weapons we do have this year and what we can accomplish as a team."

Will Defenses Forget About Morris?When the Redskins went out on the first day of free agency and plucked Andre Roberts off the open market and then snagged DeSean Jackson in early April, excitement for what the aerial attack could be capable of, merely on talent, skyrocketed.

But what about Morris?   

Defenses must make a choice now to either overload the box or run on the risk of letting Morris get second-level.

"Last year, teams were able to stack the box on us," Morris said. "It definitely comes into play in the run game, so it's good to get that extra guy (Jackson) out of the box and spread them out a little bit more."

"They can (stack the box), but they have to pay for it. Having a deep threat changes everything."

Becoming The Complete PackageIf there's one knock on Morris' first two seasons, it's that he wasn't much of a pass-catching threat out of the backfield.

In 32 career games, Morris has 20 receptions for 155 yards.

The small sample size isn't an indicator of a lack of talent in that facet, though.

The running back simply wasn't asked to be a big factor in the passing game, but, in Gruden's offense he is.

Go behind the scenes as Redskins running back Alfred Morris goes in front of the camera for his 2014 photo shoot.

Working on pass-catching in the offseason, Morris said technique has sharpened and that "it's coming along great."

"I had some passes thrown to me today," Morris said after Friday morning's practice session. "(Thursday), I caught a screen (in 11-on-11 drills). I've just been catching and building that confidence not only in the quarterbacks, but also in the coaches just to let them know 'Hey, I am a viable option in the pass game.'"

Durability Not An IssueOne reason why the running back has been phased out?

Permanency concerns.

Morris -- who has already logged 611 carries and nearly 3,000 rushing yards -- was asked after Friday's morning practice session if there should be any concerns about him lasting a third consecutive full season.

He responded instantly, saying "not at all."

"I've very durable. I was made for this…I'm a workhorse. Whether it's a big load or a light load, it really doesn't matter.

"I'm just here to do whatever it takes to win."




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