#46 Alfred Morris
Alfred Bruce Morris was born in Pensacola, Florida on December 12, 1988. He played his collegiate football at Florida Atlantic University. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, but is currently a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
Alfred Morris attended Pine Forest High School in Pensacola, Florida, where he was a letterman in football, basketball, and track.
In track, Morris was one of the top performers in the state in jumping events. In 2007, at the FHSSA 1A-2A Outdoor State Finals, he finished in 10th place in the triple jump event, with a career-best jump of 13.40 m. He also got a place ribbon in the long jump with a leap of 6.48 m and ran the 200 m in 23.46 seconds.
On the football field, Alfred Morris was a two-way player at Pine Forest High School. As a senior, he rushed for 1,049 yards and 17 touchdowns on offense. On defense, he accumulated 147 tackles and five interceptions.
Alfred Morris was named North West Florida MVP, first-team All-State, Max Emfirger All-American, and was a game MVP. He also participated in the PSA All-Star Game. Academically, he was named the student-athlete of the month for Pine Forest High School.
Alfred Morris decided to accept a football scholarship to Florida Atlantic University to continue his career on the gridiron.
Alfred Morris enjoyed a redshirt season his first year at Florida Atlantic University in 2007. In 2008, Morris played in 11 games and had seven carries for 23 rushing yards. He also accumulated 10 tackles on special teams, which included seven solo tackles.
Morris began the 2009 season as a virtually unknown player, but by the end of the year he held the Sun Belt Conference rushing title with 1,392 rushing yards. Alfred Morris’ 1,392 rushing yards was a single season rushing record for FAU. He finished his sophomore campaign with seven straight 100 yard games, the SBC rushing title, the FAU MVP title, the FAU team Academic Award, and the University Male Student Athlete of the Year award, as honored by the University’s Provost.
In 2010, Morris’ final season at FAU, he carried the ball 227 times for 928 rushing yards. He averaged 4.1 yards per carry and scored a touchdown in seven of his last 11 games. He finished just 72 yards shy of becoming the first FAU player to have back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons.
For his career at Florida Atlantic University, Alfred Morris played in a total of 35 games. He had a total of 497 rushing attempts for 2,343 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also averaged 4.7 yards per carry.
2012 NFL Draft
The Washington Redskins drafted Alfred Morris in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Morris didn’t particularly have a strong showing at the NFL Scouting Combine, scoring poorly in a few of the events. He only managed to run a 4.63-second 40-yard dash, which is slow by NFL standards.
There were also concerns about his size when it came to playing at the next level.
The Washington Redskins used the sixth round draft pick they received in a trade from the Minnesota Vikings for quarterback Donovan McNabb.
Alfred Morris had a strong showing in the 2012 preseason, his rookie season, and ended up being named the starter by head coach Mike Shanahan.
In his NFL debut, Alfred Morris rushed for 96 yards on 28 carries and scored two touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints. In week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Morris was nominated for NFL Rookie of the Week after rushing for 70 rushing yards on 17 carries and scoring a touchdown. He would end up winning Rookie of the Week twice in 2012, in weeks 7 and 14 against the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens, respectively.
In his final game that season, Alfred Morris rushed for 200 yards on 33 carries, scoring three touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys, which set new Redskins records. His performance helped the Redskins when the NFC East division for the first time since 1999.
He finished his rookie season 2nd in the NFL with 1,613 rushing yards — behind only Adrian Peterson — and scored 13 rushing touchdowns, 2nd in the NFL behind Arian Foster. He broke Clinton Portis’ single-season rushing record (1,516) and Charley Taylor’s record of most touchdowns scored by a rookie (10). He also became the fourth player in NFL history to record over 1,600 rushing yards in his rookie season.
In 2013, Alfred Morris was not quite as productive as his rookie season, but still finished fourth in the NFL in rushing yards with 1,275. He also scored seven rushing touchdowns. He ended up playing in the 2014 Pro Bowl after originally only being selected as an alternate.
In 2014, Morris rushed for 1,074 yards and scored eight touchdowns. His 1,074 rushing yards was his third consecutive season to rush for over 1,000 yards. He went to the 2015 Pro Bowl as an alternate for running back LeSean McCoy.
In 2015, Alfred Morris’ final season with the Washington Redskins, he remained the starter despite splitting carries with Matt Jones and Chris Thompson. His production declined significantly and he finished his last year in Washington with only 751 rushing yards and one measly rushing touchdown.
Alfred Morris signed a two-year contract to become a member of the Dallas Cowboys in March 2016.
On March 21, 2016, the Dallas Cowboys signed Alfred Morris to a two-year, $3.5 million contract. Morris received $1.8 million guaranteed, including a $1 million signing bonus. He can earn up to $500,000 per game in 2017 if he’s on the active roster and another $1 million dollar escalator is also available.
Alfred Morris’ base salary with the Cowboys in 2016 is $800,000 and he has a cap number of $1,300,000. In 2017, his base salary is $1,200,000 and he has a cap hit of $2,200,000. It is unlikely he receives a second contract from the Cowboys with both Ezekiel Elliott and Darius Jackson on the roster.
If the Dallas Cowboys decide to move on from Morris after the 2016 season, they will save $1,700,000, but there will be $500,000 in dead money.
Cowboys Defense is Ready to Win Now, Time for Offense to Prove the Same
The Dallas Cowboys lead the NFC East at 1-1, and have a favorable schedule ahead of them. With such an inexperienced roster, early season growing pains were expected, and likely should be still as the team comes off their first win to play in Seattle on Sunday.
Through a season opening clunker in Carolina and hard-earned divisional win against the Giants, the Cowboys have exceeded already high expectations on defense.
With the currently 0-2 Seahawks, Lions, and Texans awaiting Dallas, the time is now for Scott Linehan's offense to hit their stride. It will take more than a five week assessment to determine if the Cowboys are truly playoff contenders for 2018, but it could take even less than that for Cowboys Nation to realize this team is fighting an uphill battle at QB and WR.
Following Dak Prescott's 64-yard touchdown pass to Tavon Austin against the Giants, the Cowboys punted on four of their remaining seven drives. The Cowboys did a better job mixing up their early down play calling to remain ahead of the chains for most of the night, but even still their execution was lacking. Finishing three of ten on third downs, the Cowboys didn't sustain the type of originality on offense that earned them an early cushion.
Thankfully, the Cowboys turning back the clock to 2016 on a clinching touchdown drive of 14 plays would be all the defense needed. Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott would both convert a pair of first downs on the ground. The Cowboys took a 20-3 lead, and more importantly the game clock down to 5:45 with an eight minute and 23 second march.
As such, the Cowboys offense is an enigma. With the return of Brice Butler, the team is currently carrying seven wide receivers and four tight ends.
On defense, the Cowboys are expecting reinforcements in Xavier Woods, Randy Gregory, and David Irving to further bolster this aggressive, blitzing unit in the coming weeks. For the offense, Dallas must make the most out of the unknown depth they have, without any drastic change in style around the corner.
The Cowboys record under Prescott proves they're at their best when Dak is efficient. The ceiling for a new-look Cowboys offense built for Dak is not as high for this reason. Through just two weeks, it's clear that the Cowboys offense will be as good as the sum of its parts - instead of relying on any individual talents.
Cowboys' record when Dak Prescott ... Doesn't throw an interception: 20-4 Records at least a 100.0 passer rating: 15-1 Commits no turnovers: 18-1
After a strong preseason from rookie Wide Receiver Michael Gallup, the third-round pick has played less than half his team's offensive snaps through two games. Cole Beasley has seemed to regain his connection with Prescott, snagging a team high nine catches so far. Terrance Williams has been a non-factor, and the same is surprisingly said about FA acquisition Allen Hurns.
Regardless of what the Cowboys do over the coming weeks, a few narratives and lingering questions about the team feel evident. With the defense set to tee off against the Seahawks sub par OL this week, Rod Marinelli's unit will still likely not receive the credit it deserves heading into week four.
With the task at hand being maintaining their standing atop the division, the Cowboys must also be out to prove they can sustain success without a consistent passing game.
All of this to effectively say, the Cowboys are going to Seattle expecting to control the game on defense. To finish off Russell Wilson in his home opener (already at 0-2), it will take a sharper performance for a full four quarters on offense too.
A win at the Seahawks might not mean as much as it has in past seasons, but in improving the Cowboys record to 2-1 on the way back to AT&T Stadium, it could be all the confidence they need to understand the NFC East is theirs for the taking while continuing to truly find their identity.
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Snap Judgments: Cowboys’ Linebacker Depth Stands Out in Win
The Dallas Cowboys evened their record at 1-1 with their 20-13 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday night. The Cowboys linebackers had a huge impact on the outcome of the game and it wasn't just the guys at the top of the depth chart either. America's Team got contributions from guys at the bottom of the depth chart.
What a difference a year makes.
The Dallas Cowboys worked hard this offseason to fix the linebacker depth that failed them in the 2017 season. When Sean Lee or Anthony Hitchens -- or both -- were sidelined with injuries, Jaylon Smith, Damien Wilson, and the rest of the linebacker group struggled to keep up with opposing offenses. Specifically, in games against the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers the major depth inadequacy was revealed.
One year later, the Dallas Cowboys have a linebacker corp that allows them to go five deep with Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Joe Thomas, and Damien Wilson all making considerable contributions for the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday nights victory.
Here are the final snap counts for the five linebackers that played a defensive snap against the Giants.
- Jaylon Smith - 57 (84%)
- Sean Lee - 41 (60)
- Leighton Vander Esch - 28 (48%)
- Damien Wilson - 17 (25%)
- Joe Thomas - 14 (21%)
Jaylon Smith led the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night with 10 tackles (seven solo) and played really well roaming sideline to sideline and making plays. He was tasked with the difficult assignment of containing New York Giants Running Back Saquon Barkley and allowed four catches for 41 yards in his coverage area. Smith was credited with three stops or plays that result in a "loss" for the offense (per Pro Football Focus). Smith led the team in snaps for the second straight week.
Sean Lee had a better game on Sunday night than he did in week one. PFF credited him with four stops, four tackles and an assist. Lee allowed two catches for 24 yards on two targets to Wayne Gallman and Evan Engram. Lee pulled his hamstring at the end of the game and was held out the rest of the way for precautionary reasons. He'll be an interesting name to watch on this week's injury report. Age catches up with everyone, but hopefully Sean Lee can stave it off for at least another season.
Rookie Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch saw a big bump in his snap count from week one (17) to week two (28). The rookie played well too. As many players seemed to struggle with tackling Saquon Barkley, Vander Esch was able to bring down the number two overall pick on several occasions. Vander Esch had seven solo tackles in his second career game.
Damien Wilson was the surprise player of the night. He had three tackles on the night, including one on special teams, a sack, and a forced fumble. Though his time on the field might have been short, his impact was certainly felt. His forced fumble led to a field goal that gave the Dallas Cowboys a 13-0 nothing lead. Wilson was also credited with two stops on the night.
Joe Thomas has been a good player for the team off the bench as well. Though he only had one tackle, it was good enough to be credited with a stop. He's a player that can play both the WILL and MIKE linebacker spots. As the fourth or fifth linebacker on the depth chart, Thomas is a great role player.
Other Snap Count Notes
- Taco Charlton may not have started, but he played 84% of the team's defensive snaps. That number is up from 73% in week one. Charlton had a sack, a hit, and a hurry as well as three stops on the night.
- Cole Beasley and Allen Hurns led the wide receiver group in snap percentage from week one to week two. The big difference at wide receiver was seeing Michael Gallup take the third most snaps on offense instead of Deonte Thompson. Thompson still had the bigger impact with four catches for 33 yards on five targets including two for first downs.
- Geoff Swaim was the far and away leader at tight end in snaps with a 94% snap count. Only the offensive line and Dak Prescott had more snaps on the night than Swaim. He's the TE1 for the team, though he didn't have an impact in the passing game.
- Rico Gathers only played five snaps, but there was concerted effort to get him the ball as he had two targets in his five snaps. He may not have come away with a catch, but it's a start.
- Jourdan Lewis continues to be the odd man out on defense. He only played one snap.
- Dorance Armstrong saw a snap jump from week one to week two going from 28% of the defensive snaps to 40% of the snaps. He had two hurries and an assisted tackle.
Why Cowboys Need Tavon Austin More Involved Offensively
Two games into the 2018 season and I'm still not quite sure what to make of the Dallas Cowboys offense. To me, there is a void of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. With the exception of Ezekiel Elliott and maybe Cole Beasley, there is a lack of consistency that is really hurting this offensive unit. Changes need to be made or someone needs to step up in a hurry.
Enter Wide Receiver/Running Back Tavon Austin.
Just looking at Tavon Austin you would probably put him in the category with Cole Beasley, a small/diminutive WR who should strictly be playing out of the slot. That's typically where the smaller WRs get placed in the NFL because teams would like you to believe that due to their diminutive stature, they can't succeed on the outside.
Well, guess what? The passing game is changing around the league and we're starting to see more of these smaller/quicker WRs earn more prominent roles. The reasoning is these types of receivers are generally known to be better route runners, who are more capable of creating separation on their own.
The Dallas Cowboys must be buying into this philosophy because during the offseason they pretty much revamped the entire wide receiver position with that thought at least in the back of their minds. They didn't bring in a lot of "undersized" WRs, but they did focus on adding pass catchers who can run better routes and create separation on their own.
Wide Receiver Tavon Austin is one of those pass catchers Dallas brought in to improve their passing game. Austin really hasn't been utilized as much as I thought he would in the first two games, but he is starting to look like a dynamic weapon the Cowboys can't ignore much longer.
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Last Sunday night against the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys finally decided to utilize Tavon Austin's speed in the passing game. The result, a 64 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Dak Prescott.
Austin's speed to stretch the field both vertically and horizontally is something the Dallas Cowboys need to incorporate more of into their offensive game plan. Forcing opposing defenses to have to cover more of the field should create more opportunities for big plays in both the running and passing game.
Stretching the field vertically with Austin's speed will open up things up underneath in the passing game. It takes at least one, possibly two defenders out of the play, leaving nine to defend against 10 Cowboys offensive players. That benefits Ezekiel Elliott in the running game and the other WRs running those underneath routes.
Stretching the field horizontally mostly helps the running game, which is great news when you have a dynamic running back like Zeke. Utilizing Austin's speed on jet sweeps or reverses forces the edge defenders from crashing down on inside runs. It also forces the linebackers to hesitate more because they have to respect the threat of both an inside or outside run.
Against the Giants, Tavon Austin turned three touches into 94 total yards, two receptions for 79 receiving yards and one rushing attempt for 15 yards. Imagine if the Cowboys were to give him about 10 touches a game. It seems like such a simple thing, but I think it could have a huge impact (for the better) for the entire offense.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys need to get Tavon Austin more involved?
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