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Alfred Morris Still Leads Three-Headed Attack


Matt Jones and Chris Thompson have been getting their share of opportunities in certain situations this season, but fourth-year starter Alfred Morris remains the "lead dog" at running back.

Despite seeing his carries dip week to week this season, including just six in the Redskins' 32-21 loss to the New York Giants on Thursday night, running back Alfred Morris is still the team's "lead dog" at the position, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Check out images of fourth-year running back Alfred Morris during the 2015 offseason.

"Alfred's fine," Gruden said during a conference call last Friday. "He's a good player for us and it's just unfortunate how it worked out the number of plays that he played, but situationally it was unique game unfortunately. We were playing a lot of catch up there. Catching balls out of the backfield and running routes is really not his forte. He's more of a 'In the I-formation, running outside zone, inside zone and all that stuff.' We just didn't have that many opportunities to give him the ball unfortunately."

In the second half against the Giants, Morris recorded just two carries, as the team instead relied on Matt Jones and Chris Thompson – especially in passing situations as the team tried to play catch-up.

"You know, it was nothing against Alfred, it was just it was Matt Jones' turn on a couple of those reps and we gave him some carries," Gruden said. "We intend on splitting the reps up pretty good. Alfred should be the lead dog though. It just didn't work out that way. "   

Morris paced the Redskins' offense on Opening Day against the Miami Dolphins, carrying the ball 25 times for 121 yards. It was his highest carry total since Week 10 of the 2013 season when he recorded 26 carries for 139 yards against the Minnesota Vikings.

While Jones (30) has recorded more carries than Morris (24) the last two weeks, the team wants to get the two-time Pro Bowler more opportunities.

"It has to change in the coming weeks for us to have a chance," Gruden said. "I look at the stats and see how many times we threw it and how many times we ran it. If I wasn't there and I just saw the stats, I would've told you we lost. It's important for us to have the balance and he's got to be a big part of our football team. We didn't do a very good job of getting him involved."

Jones has strung together solid performances to start his Redskins career, highlighted by 123 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-10 Week 2 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

"Every opportunity I get, I'm going to try to make the best of it," he said recently. "Alfred Morris is a great back. I learn from him all the time, each and every day I learn from him so I'm not worried about it. Each opportunity I get I'm trying to make the best of it."

Thompson, meanwhile, has been an effective pass-catching option out of the backfield, as he's recorded nine receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.

The third-year Florida State product recorded a key third-down reception late in the game against the Rams and had a touchdown in the first of two games against the Giants.

"That's what they kept me here for was to be able to catch the ball and catch it well," he said. "I'm a guy that doesn't want to have any dropped passes. …That's the part of my game that the coaches like and what they really want to see out of me is to be that third down guy and help move the chains also. It's great to have a guy that can be an outlet and that the quarterback can trust to catch the ball."

As for the rotation at the top of the depth chart with Morris and Jones, the veteran just likes the fact that the offense wants to run through them.

"Being biased as a running back we want to keep the ball on the ground," Morris said after the Rams game. "The run game opens up your offense so much more and the last two weeks it has been doing just that. We still have to be more consistent. We still got work to do. We got to be more consistent coming out in the second half. Getting the ball on the ground. Getting two guys with a lot of carries that's awesome. We are able to control the clock, control the tempo of the game and string together long drives. It's awesome, I'm loving it."




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