#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 Wishlist: 3 Things I Want to See in Kellen Moore’s Offense
The Dallas Cowboys offense will mostly remain the same in terms of players. However, a big change is coming with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore taking over the talented unit. In a special edition of Cowboys Wishlist, I'll share the three big things I want to see in Moore's offense in 2019.
Let me know what you want to see in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL!
Wish #1: Frequent Read Option
Despite Dak Prescott's skills as a runner, rarely did we see the Cowboys run read option plays. For a team that seems to have the perfect duo for these plays, they certainly seemed to have wasted it over the last few years. This is an offense that has plenty of talent to be struggling as much as they did in the red zone last year.
Imagine being concerned about Ezekiel Elliott getting the ball and Dak Prescott keeping it at the same time? Not to mention the play action threat with a group of receivers led by Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb... oh, and a veteran tight end in Jason Witten who might be older but whose hands are very reliable.
The Athletic's Bob Sturm pointed out Prescott's average of 4.46 yards per carry and 18 touchdowns in the red zone between 2016 and 2018. The league average for all players is 2.64 and there's no one close to over four yards and over 10 touchdowns in the league. Dak has been dangerous when using his legs and yet, the Cowboys haven't used the read option as much. I hope that changes with Kellen Moore taking over.
Wish #2: Use Tight Ends More
I'm still impressed by how little the Cowboys utilized their tight ends in 2018. In fact, as Bobby Belt noted on Twitter a few months ago, this has happened consistently in Scott Linehan's career.
One thing you consistently see when Scott Linehan takes over an offense is a drop in the starting tight end's production. Randy McMichael, Byron Chamberlain, and Jason Witten all saw drops in yards per catch, receptions per game, and yards per game once Linehan took over.
Last year, Blake Jarwin had only three games with more than three targets. In those games, he racked up 56, 45 and 119 yards. This makes me wonder if the real problem at tight end last season was more about how they were utilized rather than the players at the position.
With Jason Witten back, Jarwin and the future Hall of Famer could split the snaps. Hopefully, Kellen Moore gives them a more active role on the offense. I really think we'll see way more from them.
Wish #3: Pre-Snap Motion
Pre-snap motion is truly a thing of beauty. The simple fact of getting a player in motion before the ball is snapped can go a long way to keep a defense in its toes and cause confusion to set up a successful play. In Boise State, Moore ran an offense that heavily relied on pre-snap motions.
The first year offensive coordinator won't turn the Cowboys into the new L.A. Rams but he can add this kind of trickery to help Dallas take the next step offensively. Dak Prescott will be playing his fourth year of professional football and adding this to the offense will only help the young QB by making his reads even easier.
Why I’m Not Buying The Jason Witten Rejuvenation Story
Last week, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett made headlines with some quotes about the return of Jason Witten. Neither Garrett nor Witten tend to make headlines with their words often, but the two combined to do so with a quote this week.
“Yeah, absolutely. He’s been excited about every part of it ever since I met him and that hasn’t changed,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The work that he’s done in the weight room in the off-season program has been outstanding. His testing numbers and all of that are what they’ve been or even better. And he just has an unbelievable way about him. Tremendous passion for the game. And he demonstrates that every day. Witt looks good. He’s excited to be back and we’re certainly fortunate to have him back.” - Jason Garrett on Witten.
Multiple Cowboys' media outlets ran with these quotes, looking to show that the Cowboys have found a version of Jason Witten that they have not seen in quite some time. They are, publicly, stating that they believe a year away from the game did Witten some good, and that he will be a much healthier and fresher player in 2019 than he was back when he last played in 2017.
As a fan of the team, I sure hope this is the case. But as a realistic human being, I can't get behind this at all.
Jason Witten hasn't been very good for quite some time now. I know he's a Cowboy legend, and will forever be a fan favorite, but the facts are the facts. As a run blocker Witten has regressed greatly in his later years. More often it seemed he was re-adjusting his jersey after a missed block than he was making blocks to spring Ezekiel Elliott on the edge.
As a receiver, Witten's much slower than he used to be. And while he was never a blazer who relied on his speed to win, his lack of speed certainly holds him back in today's game. And if the Cowboys want to be multiple and versatile on offense, I'm not sure how a greatly-aged tight end helps them to do so.
He's still the smart, instinctive route runner he's always been, but at 37 years old what can we realistically expect from him?
I'll be honest, I'm very skeptical that Jason Witten is going to give the Cowboys anything in 2019. Maybe earlier in the season he will look better than expected, but can he withstand a full NFL season? It's impossible to say for sure now, but I'm absolutely not buying that he's rejuvenated or extra-fresh after a year off from football.
Connor Williams Hopes Added Weight, Experience Aids Him In 2019
Offensive lineman Connor Williams had himself an interesting start to his young career. The second round pick was expected to be a plug-and-play guard for the Cowboys, earning the starting left guard spot from just about the first day of training camp.
The results from Williams' play were mixed, however. At moments Connor Williams looked like his athletic, technically sound self, working well on the Cowboys outside zone runs. Other times, though, he was simply overpowered by bigger and stronger defensive tackles.
Williams lost his left guard spot due to injury late in the season, and when Xavier Su'a-Filo came in and played relatively well, fans soured a bit on the then-rookie lineman. Still there was no question that Williams was the better player between the two, and he rightfully started in both the Cowboys playoff games last season.
Now entering year two, and with third round pick Connor McGovern potentially competing for a guard spot and rumors of a move to right tackle swirling around him, Williams believes he's done enough to improve before his Sophomore year.
Connor Williams spoke to DallasCowboys.com, and gave some decent quotes on what his offseason preparation has looked like thus far. Williams emphasized that his main goal was to add strength and size, something he looks to have clearly done based on recent photographs.
“I think I’ve put myself in a good position. Now it’s just about refining the technique and feeling comfortable.” - Connor Williams
According to Williams he played at a "light 300" pounds in 2018, but is now tipping the scales at 315 pounds. That's quite the difference, especially considering that Williams carries the weight pretty well in his frame.
All Pro veteran guard Zack Martin has taken Williams under his wing, as the young lineman credits Martin for being his lifting partner this offseason.
Right tackle might be in Connor Williams' 2020 future, but as of now, he has to ready himself to compete at left guard against the heavier defensive tackles he once struggled with. It's very encouraging to see the progress he has made so far.
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