When training camp began 2 weeks ago, the Redskins expected a trio of running backs to compete for playing time.After Thursdays preseason opener in Buffalo, a fourth contender has emerged: rookie Alfred Morris.Morris, a sixth round draft pick in April, led all rushers at Ralph Wilson Stadium, carrying the ball 15 times for 54 yards, including three runs that went for six yards apiece. Although the majority of those gains were made against the Bills reserves, Morris performance left Coach Mike Shanahan wanting to see more of the Pensacola, Fla. native.You can see hes got good running skills and hes got that forward lean, Shanahan said after Saturdays practice. Hes got good instincts. Its going to be fun to see him over the next three games, see if he still plays at a hard level.I anticipate he will, the coach added.Last week, Sports Illustrateds Peter King posted a potentially telling comment on his Twitter account the same day he visited with team brass at Redskins Park.Florida Atl rkie Alfred Morris solid darkhorse for RB job, Kings tweet read.Thursdays effort in Buffalo, it would appear, only enhanced Morris chances of posing a legitimate threat to incumbents Tim Hightower, Evan Royster and Roy Helu Jr., who currently occupy spots 1-3 on the depth chart, respectively.Weve got a number of guys that can play in the National Football League, Shanahan said. As each game goes by, well get a chance to evaluate these guys more. But Morris sure didnt hurt himself.At 5-foot-10, 218 pounds, Morris boasts a no-frills, physical, north-south style that sets him apart from the others.You can see he puts his foot in the ground, said fullback Darrel Young, who has tutored Morris on details of the pro game, such as pass protection. A lot of guys cant do that. He can make one cut and get up field, as opposed to rounding a cut off.With five consecutive carries in the third quarter, Morris also displayed the workhorse reputation that helped define his career at Florida Atlantic. On that series, Morris made inside runs for gains of 6, 3, 3 and 6 yards before being stopped for a one-yard loss.It just shows my endurance and my willingness, no matter how tired I am, to play my hardest every single play, Morris said.Although he hoped to have a pass or two thrown his way, Morris said he was pleased with his performance against the Bills.My whole objective was to not make any mental mistakes and did just that, he said Saturday, as he participated in a time-honored rookie initiation, hauling Hightowers shoulder pads and helmet from the practice field to the locker room along with his own. I was able to show a little ability out there on the ground.The film revealed the type of runner I am, Morris added. Im a physical guy, Im a one-cut-and-get-north-south kind of guy. I have good balance, bouncing off tackles and have that willingness to get every yard possible each and every down.If he doesnt make the 53-man roster, Morris would seem to be an ideal candidate for the practice squad.Competition always makes us better, Morris said. With backs like that in front of me, its only going to make me better. Regardless of what happens, whether Im cut, whether they keep me, at the end of the day, if I knew I gave it my all, Ill be able to sleep that night.
The announcement that the Redskins are sending Josh Doctson to injured reserve wasn’t really a surprise to anyone, although perhaps the timing was. Jay Gruden has said earlier that he thought they would wait until after the bye to make a decision on whether or not to put Doctson on the shelf. But visits to a couple of specialists convinced them to make the move.
The team’s top draft pick ends the season with 31 snaps played and two receptions for 66 yards including a 57-yard reception against the Cowboys. Doctson wasn’t expected to contribute much this season but the plans were to let him get his feet wet, learn in practice, and be ready to take over a starting role next year.
Now, he can’t practice for eight games even if he overcomes his mysterious Achilles problems. He can go to meetings and be around the facility and there is some benefit in that.
Like any player put on injured reserve after the roster cut to 53, Doctson is eligible to return after eight games. The team has one move off of IR that it can use each season. The earliest that Doctson could return is Week 15, when the Redskins host the Panthers. There is a long way to go before that bridge needs to be crossed.
The other possibilities to be activated later are center Kory Lichtensteiger and safety David Bruton. But that is a decision that can be made later in the season. Who knows what the injury picture might look like when they do have to make a call.
To replace Doctson on the roster the Redskins signed rookie free agent wide receiver Maurice Harris to the roster. At 6-3 Harris immediately becomes the tallest receiver on the roster.
The move doesn’t have much of an effect on the wide receiver depth chart since Doctson has been inactive for four weeks. It remains to be seen when Harris will see the field on game days.
WR Josh Doctson (Achilles)—While they wanted to wait until after the bye week to make this determination they sent the top draft pick to some more specialists and the decision was made to put him on the shelf. Jay Gruden said that he could return later in the season. The earliest he could do so would be Week 15.
TE Jordan Reed (concussion)—The star tight end had symptoms after the Ravens game and it was determined that he has a concussion. This week he did get to practice on a limited basis on Wednesday but he was not on the field Thursday or Friday. This will be the second game missed for Reed.
WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder)—He did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday but he practiced on Friday and Gruden said “he ran around pretty good”. Both Jackson and Gruden seem to be confident that he will play but that remains to be seen.
Not on injury report
LB Su’a Cravens (concussion)—He entered the concussion protocol immediately after the Browns game. The rookie was a full go in practice on Thursday and Friday and Gruden said that “he’s good to go” after missing two games.
- TE Eric Ebron (ankle/knee)
- LB DeAndre Levy (knee/quad)
- DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder)
- RB Theo Riddick (ankle)
- T Corey Robinson (ankle)
- DE Ezekiel Ansah (ankle)
- G Larry Warford (groin)
- RB Dwayne Washington (ankle)
- LB Tahir Whitehead (abdomen)