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Morris bursts through 'rookie wall'

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Morris bursts through 'rookie wall'

The fact that Alfred Morris stands only 18 yards from reaching the milestone mark of 1,000 is a testament to his physical build, durability and work ethic, his coaches said this week. 

“He has that type of body,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. “He’s 220 pounds. He’s strong. He’s very physical and he’s in excellent shape. They don’t make all bodies like that, with that type of power.” 

The 23-year-old rookie ranks fifth in the NFL in rushing yards (982), sixth in attempts (208) and 14th in yards per carry (4.7) for the Redskins, who lead the league in yards on the ground with 1,799. He’s also been handed the ball at least 13 carries in each game.

Morris’ number of attempts is 195 more than the next running back on the Redskins’ roster, Evan Royster, who has 13. Quarterback Robert Griffin III, meantime, has 100 carries for 642 yards.

“That’s been the most impressive thing about him; he’s never hit a rookie wall,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. “He runs so hard and I’ve never seen him wear down at all. He’s been strong all year.”

The numbers also show a correlation between the Redskins' record and Morris' workload. They’re 4-1 when he's handed the ball 20 times or more, and 1-5 when he's not. 

Thirteen weeks into his first pro season, there have been no signs of Morris hitting the "rookie wall," the point at which rookie's body wears down from the increased strain and intensity of the longer NFL season. In fact, the sixth round draft pick is coming off one of his busiest weeks of the season. Morris carried the ball 24 times for 113 yards against the Cowboys – only four days after logging 20 attempts against the Eagles.

"You don't know for sure if a guy can carry the load," Mike Shanahan said. "It's hard. You take a lot of punishment as a running back. When you're carrying that ball anywhere from 15 to 30 times a game, it's pretty tough on the body. But you could see it from the first preseason game and through the preseason, he's a special back and he keeps getting better." 

Morris’ career-high of 120 yards came Oct. 21 against the Giants – the Redskins’ opponent Monday night.

“I don’t know if he reminds me of anybody, but ‘The Bus’ comes to mind,” Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said Wednesday, referring to former Steelers’ running back Jerome Bettis. “He falls forward and gets three yards just from his head of steam.”

Physical gifts and experience aside, there are a couple more reasons Morris' trajectory has continued to rise: He’s learned to take better care of his body and has become a student of the craft.

“If you don’t care of your body in the NFL, especially as a running back, you have no chance,” Kyle Shanahan said. And “he keeps grinding on everything. He’s really quick to correct any mistakes he makes. He's really conscientious of stuff he struggles with. Anything he struggles with, he gets it fixed for the next game.”

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Redskins vs Buccaneers: 5 things to watch in game with major weather concerns

Redskins vs Buccaneers: 5 things to watch in game with major weather concerns

TAMPA - Originally scheduled for Thursday night, the Redskins and Buccaneers moved up their fourth and final preseason game to Wednesday night in advance of approaching Tropical Storm Nine. All the coverage starts on CSN at 7 p.m., and despite this being the last exhibition game, there is plenty to watch.

  1. Talk about the weather - This game was moved up 24 hours in a plan to get the Redskins out of Florida safely. Expect heavy rain to dominate the action; here's a preview from NOAA.gov website, "South wind 11 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible."
  2. How to move the ball - Many offenses are weather-proof, but few offenses are Tropical Storm proof. If the weather is significant enough - and most forecasts call for significant rain - it will be tough for either offense to move the ball, especially considering both offenses will be guided by mostly third-stringers. It will be tough for coaches to truly evaluate what happens Wednesday night if the weather is as bad as some predictions.
  3. Roster crunch - The Redskins cut veterans Perry Riley and Stephen Paea on Tuesday. That means good news for the newly-signed Cullen Jenkins as well as Terrance Garvin. Jenkins has been with the team less than a week, so it will be interesting to see if he even dresses for Wednesday's game. Garvin is a player that should play in Tampa, but it will be interesting to see how much the staff puts him on the field.
  4. Su'a show? - Most 2016 draft picks will play Wednesday in Tampa, though we know first-round rookie Josh Doctson will not play against the Bucs. What about second-round pick Su'a Cravens? After a strong training camp and preseason, Cravens is obviously part of the team's plans this fall. He figures to be on the field a lot when the games matter, so will Cravens be on the field when they don't?
  5. Keeping it real - Coaches will say all the right things about this game being about competition, and players will do the same. But considering a large portion of the Redskins team won't even make the trip from D.C. to Tampa for the fourth preseason game - due to weather - will the guys in Florida be truly ready for the game? It's such a unique situation that it's impossible to predict.

Stay with @JPFinlayCSN all day for updates -weather and otherwise - from Tampa. And tune into CSN @ 7 p.m. for live coverage from Raymond James Stadium. 

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Redskins Preseason Schedule: Week 4 vs. Buccaneers, Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream

Redskins Preseason Schedule: Week 4 vs. Buccaneers, Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream

The Redskins' final 2016 NFL preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been moved a day earlier and will be held on Wednesday, August 31.

Impending incliment weather in the greater Tampa Bay area forced the NFL and the teams to schedule the game a day earlier.

Here is everything you need to know about the Redskins' Week 4 preseason game against the Buccaneers.

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Who: Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What: Week 4 of the 2016 NFL Preseason

Where: Raymond James Stadium. Tampa, Fla.

When: 8:00 p.m. ET. Wednesday, August 31

TV Channel: CSN Mid-Atlantic (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: NFL.com Game Pass

Radio: Redskins Radio Network (Frequency Finder)

 

Washington Redskins 2016 Preseason Schedule: 

Week 1 (Thurs., 8/11): at Atlanta Falcons (25 - 19 L)

Week 2 (Fri., 8.19): vs. New York Jets (22 - 18 W)

Week 3 (Fri., 8/26): vs. Buffalo Bills  (21 - 16 W)

Week 4 (Thurs., 9/1): at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Redskins Kickoff pregame show begins at 6:00 p.m. ET only on CSN Mid-Atlantic​.

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Forced to make decision on rookie, Redskins move Keith Marshall to injured reserve

Forced to make decision on rookie, Redskins move Keith Marshall to injured reserve

The Redskins liked rookie running back Keith Marshall, and the team gave the former Georgia Bulldog every chance to make the roster.

Ultimately he did not get that chance, as an elbow injury will land Marshall on the injured reserve.

Marshall sustained the injury in the team's third preseason game against the Bills. Even before the elbow injury, Marshall failed to capitalize on the opportunity to backup Matt Jones.

In games against the Jets and the Falcons, Marshall struggled to gain much ground and eventually he slid behind Robert Kelley on the team's depth chart.

For now, it appears Kelley is a lock for the Redskins 53-man roster and Marshall heads to the IR. 

Scot McCloughan and the 'Skins also made two other roster moves to get the squad to the 75-man limit following this morning's release of veterans Perry Riley and Stephen Paea. Tight end Derek Carrier was moved to the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list and rookie WR Reggie Diggs was waived with an injured designation.

Carrier's move to the PUP list was expected, and Diggs had little chance to make the roster as an undrafted receiver even before an injury limited his training camp.

RELATED: WHAT WILL THE 53-MAN ROSTER LOOK LIKE?