Alfred Morris showed what he could do against NFL backups in the Redskins preseason opener in Buffalo.On Saturday night, Coach Mike Shanahan wanted to see what the rookie could do against another teams starters.The reviews were, well, mixed.On the Redskins first play, Morris displayed the one-cut, north-south style that complements Shanahans zone blocking scheme. After a sudden change of direction at the line of scrimmage, Morris burst through the left side and into the secondary for a 21-yard gain. On the next play, Morris ripped off six yards, this time running off the right tackle.It was a stellar start to an outing that ended rather quietly against a stout Bears defense that featured seven-time Pro Bowler Julius Peppers. Morris, a 5 foot 10, 218-pound Florida Atlantic product, finished with 34 yards on 10 carries four yards fewer than he had after his first five carries.I definitely could have played better, said Morris, who did not play in the second half. But it could have been a whole lot worse. I feel I did good overall.Morris was informed Friday by running backs coach Bobby Turner that he would be getting the first start of his young NFL career. With Tim Hightower still recovering from knee surgery and Roy Helu Jr. sidelined with tendinitis in his Achilles tendon, Shanahan wanted to see how Morris would fare against the likes of Peppers, Lance Briggs and Israel Idonije.If youre in the 90, youre in the competition to make the football team, Shanahan said when asked if Morris has a legit chance of claiming the Redskins No. 1 tailback job. I dont have guys out there just to be out there. We started Alfred today, and the reason we started him is that we wanted to see him against a really good defense and against a good unit.After gaining 38 yards on the Redskins first two series, Morris and the rest of the Redskins offense the patchwork line, in particular struggled. Morris was limited to minus-4 yards on his next five carries. Peppers and Idonije each thwarted him for no gain, while strong safety Major Wright dropped him for a two-yard loss and linebacker Blake Costanzo stopped him for three-yard setback.I dont think they made an adjustment; it was just a few things we were missing, Morris said. They have some great d-linemen and they were getting some penetration in the backfield, and that didnt help at all.Morris also accepted the blame for going out for a pass rather than staying home to block on the play where quarterback Robert Griffin III was sacked and fumbled.I had a blitzing safety that I misread, Morris said.As Morris acknowledged, his first NFL start could have been more productive. But also managed to remain philosophical about the steep learning curve hes facing.Life is a lesson, he said. You live and you learn.
Here is what you need to know on this Friday, July 27, 36 days before the Washington Redskins cut their roster to 53 on September 2.
The Redskins last played a game 207 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 45 days.
Today’s schedule: Walkthrough 10:35; Josh Norman press conference 11:30; Jay Gruden press conference 2:45; Practice 3:00; players available after both practices.
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 13
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 22
—Sunday night Raiders @ Redskins (9/24) 58
Hot topics from Redskins camp
RICHMOND—Some news and notes from around Redskins training camp.
—Don’t look now but Joey Mbu is the starting nose tackle for your Washington Redskins. To be sure, being first-string at a position on the first day of camp when he was on the practice squad last year doesn’t mean he’s a lock to start Week 1. But it’s a better spot to be in than second- or third-team. At this point it’s something to keep an eye on. We’ll have to see what happens when they put the pads on Monday.
—Preston Smith dropped about seven pounds during the offseason. He went from a guy who looked like he had nearly zero fat on his body to looking like he has even less. The third-year OLB said that he stopped eating fried foods, baked goods, and other such tasty delights. Smith said that he hopes to be quicker after going from about 269 at the end of last season to about 262.
—I wouldn’t look for Jordan Reed to be back anytime real soon. In one answer at his press conference on Thursday, he said that it should be “about a week or so” before they get him on the field. But then in answer to another question Gruden said, “We will be extra cautious with Jordan.” A week does not seem to be “extra cautious.” The Redskins are off a week from today before having a single practice on Saturday, August 5. Although Reed may be activated by then it seems unlikely that he will be putting in any full-go work until after they get back from their first preseason game. In short, think later rather than sooner when it comes to Reed returning to action.
—E.J. Bibbs, signed to give the Redskins some additional tight end depth with Reed on the shelf, has just one NFL catch for seven yards. He’s the ultimate long shot to make the roster but he does appear to have practice squad eligibility so it’s certainly worth his while to come in and see what kind of impression he can make.
—Kirk Cousins says that it will take some more practice to adjust to throwing the ball to his taller receivers, Josh Doctson and Terrelle Pryor. “Height is an advantage if you can use it to your advantage, I guess,” he said. “You know, you’ve got to be able to put the ball in the right spot where your guy can catch it, and he’s got to be able to adjust to the football and make those tough catches at a high point. So, that’s what the reps in practice are all about is developing that rapport.” We haven’t seen much high-pointing the ball either in the offseason practices or in yesterday’s practice. But we can assume that it’s coming.
Tandler on Twitter
Gruden: Despite Cousins uncertainty beyond this year, he will get all of the starter reps.— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) July 27, 2017
In case you missed it
- LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1
- Houston Bates released by Redskins; TE signed
- Redskins to be 'extra cautious' with Jordan Reed
- Trent Williams likes the Redskins being NFC East darkhorses
- Larry Michael and Rich Tandler talk Reed, RBs and Roster
- A lot riding on the season, says Cousins
- Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself
- Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery
- Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script
- Redskins Playbook: Questions mount as training camp opens
- Reed on PUP is not a reason to panic, at least not yet
- Redskins' Gruden is excited to see Galette and Doctson play
On July 22, legendary D.C. broadcaster Jim Vance died at the age of 75.
During the first day of training camp on Thursday, Washington Redskins VP of player personnel Doug Williams, presented NBC4 sports reporter Carol Maloney with a gift for Vance's family.
RELATED: REMEMBERING JIM VANCE
The gesture by the Redskins was one filled with much respect for the award-winning anchor.
Vance was a staple for many D.C. locals, being a full-time anchor since 1972 for NBC4.
Last summer, Vance revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer but never stopped working.