The Dallas Cowboys have been active at the running back position over the past few days while keeping their off season theme of re-signing their own free agents going when the speedy Lance Dunbar inked a new one year deal for 2016.
However, on Friday, it was also reported that the Cowboys were bringing in free agent back Alfred Morris for a visit. Morris’ contract with the rival Redskins expired at the end of this season, and he hit the open market as a two-time Pro Bowl back who has never missed a game since 2012. Despite his impressive run in the nation’s capital, the Cowboys will be his first official visit now weeks into free agency.
Dallas is likely interested in Morris for a number of reasons, as we will see coming up in his film, but most importantly because of his durability. While Darren McFadden was a very pleasant surprise this season, his health and sustainability remain a question entering his contract year. Bringing in a guy like Morris to split carries with McFadden could maximize both players production behind this offensive line.
In fact, Morris reminds me a bit of McFadden when watching his tape. Let’s get to it:
This first clip is Morris running on a sweep pitch to the left from Robert Griffin III, which is a play that Dallas ran with great success throughout the season with Tyron Smith and La’el Collins blocking for DMC.
Always falling forward… https://t.co/jkKOqyp5uj
Morris finishes off the run by falling forward, as you’ll see in practically every clip here.
I mentioned Morris taking this pitch from RGIII because many believe that his production during his first two seasons was largely due to the attention that Griffin III got as a runner. While that may be the case in the Redskins zone blocking scheme (similar to what the Cowboys run), this next clip certainly shows that Morris has plenty of his own play-making ability.
Another example of his cutting ability along with vision on a short gain – once again falling forward. https://t.co/sgaujIMVAi
While it is a minimal gain, Morris is able to use his vision to find a hole before making a quick stop and bursting for a gain of four – once again falling forward. I compared Morris to McFadden based on his vision, but this is a play that McFadden likely keeps outside the tackle for a lesser gain.
Alfred Morris shows a greater ability to locate and cut through smaller holes, making him the perfect compliment to a guy like Darren McFadden.
The dude just knows how to finish runs. https://t.co/LdcAkUE9h8
This second play here should give Cowboys fans flashbacks to 2014, with the huge running lane that develops for Morris. He takes full advantage of it, showing impressive gears for a bigger back.
Entering 2015, the Cowboys put a lot of faith in Joseph Randle. While it was off the field issues that ultimately led to his downfall, Randle was also caught looking for the cutback on a big run far too often – which normally resulted in a minimal gain that could have been a 2 or 3 yard rush that kept Dallas ahead of the chains.
On this above play though, Morris executes the cutback perfectly, patiently waiting for it to develop before hitting the hole hard and finishing the run by once again falling forward. Cowboys Nation should be very excited about a rushing trio of McFadden, Morris, and Dunbar lining up in the backfield next season.
Morris showing some quickness https://t.co/A1jEocxK8a
Here is another massive running lane for Morris that he bursts through while breaking arm tackles. He could consistently see lanes like this in Dallas, especially with Tony Romo under center keeping defenses honest in the secondary.
Running through more arm tackles https://t.co/AHiap5Y8si
I’ll leave you with another hard-nosed run by Alfred Morris, this one coming against the Dallas Cowboys. While Washington not re-signing him means we won’t be seeing him twice a year anymore (stay away, Eagles and Giants), it would certainly be great to take that next step and give Morris a shiny new star for 2016!
Have any other potential free agent targets that you want me to take a look at? Who would you LOVE to see in the silver and blue?? Let me know! Reply with a comment below to request more “Free Agency Film Room” pieces, and be sure to catch me on the radio every Wednesday from 1-4 ET with Upon Further Review on 90.3 WMSC-FM (click this banner for listening info and more).