Running back Alfred Morris, the Redskins sixth-round pick out of Florida Atlantic, could be the right guy in the right place.Morris said he was shocked when the phone rang during the draft and the Redskins head coach was on the other end.He said, This is Mike Shanahan, welcome to the Redskins, said Morris, who grew up a Redskins fan. I was like, wow! It kind of floored be but I was excited, I told him thank you, thank you and ended up talking to running backs coach Bobby Turner.It wasnt the first time that Morris had talked to Shanahan. He was a member of the South team at the Senior Bowl, the squad coached by the Redskins staff. Morris was a bit puzzled by Shanahans demeanor on the practice field. He was just kind of quiet the whole time, he just walked around.Morris found out during last weekends rookie minicamp that he was seeing Shanahans normal practice-field manner. He is normally seen around the middle of the field observing the offense and the defense.Morris believes that he is well prepared to play in Shanahans offense. His coach at FAU was Howard Schnellenberger and he was not one to get caught up in the trend towards the spread offense.He was a big I-formation guy, Morris said of Schnellenberger, who has been around so long he was the head coach of the Colts the year after they traded away Johnny Unitas. Ive been in the I formation, it helped me with my blocking skills, just running between the tackles . . . I definitely helped me transition over.Morris said that he is well aware of Shanahans history of taking running backs late in the draft and turning them into highly productive players. But hes not thinking about that right now.It just goes to show, he saw something in me that others didnt, he said. He was taking a chance on me and I definitely didnt want to disappoint him.
At least 51 Redskins will be making the trip to London on Thursday night, including some who are pretty banged up. And there is hope that the other two will be able to make it across the pond.
“We're taking everybody, which is a good thing,” said coach Jay Gruden. “If something happens on Friday or Saturday, we can make adjustments if needed.”
He later clarified the statuses of tight end Jordan Reed and cornerback Josh Norman. Both of them are in the NFL’s concussion protocol, at least partially.
“I’m not too sure about this — Thursday they are going to the independent doctor and if they’re cleared they’ll go on the trip,” said Gruden. “If not, if we’re still having some pain and setbacks, at that point we’ll make that decision to probably leave them back.”
In other words, stay tuned on those two key players.
Two players were out of practice on Wednesday. Reserve linebacker Terrance Garvin was out with a hip injury, and starting running back Matt Jones missed with a knee problem.
The injury was as much a surprise to Gruden as it was to reporters when they saw that Jones was not participating in practice.
“He just came in, I guess, today, had some soreness laterally,” said Gruden. “Had some pain cutting, has to problem running straight ahead so we kept him out today.”
Limited in practice were wide receivers Jamison Crowder (groin) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring/shoulder); guard Brandon Scherff (shoulder), offensive tackle Trent Williams (knee), Reed, Norman, offensive lineman Spencer Long (chest), cornerback Bashaud Breeland (ankle) and tight end Vernon Davis (groin).
With six offensive starters limited and Jones out, Gruden had to alter practice somewhat.
“We had to do kind of a slower tempo on the offensive side of the ball because of the amount of injuries we had,” said Gruden.
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Both Josh Norman and Jordan Reed, two important players who are in the concussion protocol, were on the field for the early part of Redskins practice today,
But starting running back Matt Jones was not with the running back during individual drills. He out of uniform, doing some rehab work off to the side. The team did not announce an injury to him during or after the game.
The presence of Reed, who has missed the last two games after suffering a concussion on October 9, at practice was expected. Coach Jay Gruden announced on Monday that Reed would participate today for the first time in a week.
Norman left the Redskins game against the Lions last Sunday in the third quarter and was diagnosed with a concussion. It was a mild surprise to see him on the field so soon.
Reed and Norman practicing today is a positive sign but far from a guarantee that either will play against the Bengals on Sunday in London. Both must be cleared by an independent neurologist prior to playing and that usually doesn’t happen quickly. It’s possible that they may need to be cleared by tonight in order to go to London since there are no NFL-approved independent neurologists in England.
We will find out more about Reed and Norman and get information on Jones’ injury when Gruden addresses the media after practice.
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