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Need to Know: What is Alfred Morris' future with the Redskins?

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Need to Know: What is Alfred Morris' future with the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 20, 41 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question is from the Real Redskins Facebook page:

We don’t know what Scot McCloughan thinks of Alfred Morris, who has played in the last two Pro Bowls. The GM has had very little media availability since coming to the Redskins in early January and Morris is not a topic that has come up.

But even if he had said anything, what someone like McCloughan does is much more instructive than what he says. It has been pretty well established that they were in touch with free agent running back Justin Forsett, who was popped into the Ravens’ lineup last year after Ray Rice was suspended and ultimately released, in the lead to free agency. All he did was rush for 1,266 yards and eight touchdowns.

Sure, the Redskins thought they might be in need of a back to replace Roy Helu, who signed a free agent contract with the Raiders soon after the start of free agency. But you don’t show interest in Forsett if you want someone to play around 350 snaps, which is what Helu played last year. After his 2014 season he is either your full-time back or at least in an equal job-sharing arrangement with another back.

Job sharing is something that would have to be an adjustment for Morris. He has been The Man toting the rock for the Redskins since the first game of his rookie season. Since then, two Redskins running backs have more than 35 total carries. Helu has 104 and Morris has 876. The addition of a back like Forsett would certainly lead to a smaller share of the action for Morris.

Let’s look at something else. Morris is heading into the last year of his rookie contract. There has been talk of contract extensions for Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Williams, both of whom also have deals that expire after the 2015 season. But nothing has been said about an extension for Morris.

It is possible that there really isn’t much here. The interest in Forsett may have been mild and simple due diligence. It is perhaps hard to blame them for not getting into serious contract negotiations with Morris, given the high injury rate at the running back position.

We’ll have to see how it plays out. Obviously if McCloughan drafts a running back in the first few rounds, the picture changes drastically. But if the status quo remains in place I’d look for Morris to continue in the same role he has had for the past three years and a new contract would be dealt with next spring. We can renew speculation and reading tea leaves at that time.

Timeline

—It’s been 82 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 177 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 31; 2015 NFL Draft 41; Redskins training camp starts 132

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

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New #RedskinsTalk Podcast: Comparing Redskins training camp with the New England Patriots

After a poor first preseason showing and some questions about the physicality of Redskins training camp, JP Finlay talks with Patriots Insider Phil Perry from CSN New England to discuss the differences between Washington's camp and how they run things in New England.

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

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Redskins Playbook: Jay Gruden calls Ryan Grant "Mr. Consistent"

Few Redskins players draw more heated fan reaction than Ryan Grant. In three seasons with Washington, Grant has never missed a game, but he also hasn't produced much. His career stats: 39 catches for 412 yards and two touchdowns. 

Regardless, Jay Gruden and the Redskins coaching staff appreciates Grant in a way few fans understand. Grant is able to back up both the slot and outside receivers, and knows the roles of all the players.

"He’s really strong, he’s in great shape, and he’s Mr. Consistent," Gruden said of Grant. "Everything we ask him to do he does, and he does it right."

When Jamison Crowder missed time in Richmond with a hamstring strain, Grant stepped into Crowder's slot role. When Josh Doctson hurt his hamstring and missed time, Grant stepped into his role on the outside of the offense.

Throughout camp, Grant has displayed good hands and an adept knowledge of the offense. 

"No matter where he lines up, no matter what we ask him to do, he can come in the core and block the safety, whatever we want him to do, he can run whatever route from whatever positon and he runs at the right depth, perfect angles coming out of them," Gruden said. "He’s just ‘Steady Eddie,’ and that’s why I like him. I like consistent, smart players and that’s what Ryan is."

Against the Ravens in the Redskins first preseason game, Grant hung on to a tough catch over the middle to give the team one of very few offensive sparks. The problem for fans as it relates to Grant has not been preseason play. It's been inconsistent play in regular season games. 

Gruden believes that could change this year.

"I think people may be surprised with how many balls Ryan Grant might catch. Either way, could happen, I don’t know. I can’t foresee the future there, but I would be just fine with Ryan Grant being the target of a lot of balls."

To state the obvious: Grant is definitely making the roster. Behind Terrelle Pyror, Crowder and Doctson, Grant is the Redskins fourth wideout and one of the few players on the roster that is interchangeable among the Washington receiver positions. 

Grant's career best season came in 2015 when he caught 23 balls for 268 yards and two TDs. Based on his preseason, it seems Grant could surpass those totals in 2017. Much of his early season work has been a result of injuries to Doctson and Crowder, but make no mistake, Grant has been impressive in practice. 

Will it translate to the real games? The opprotunity seems only likely to arise if the Redskins deal with injuries at the receiver spot. 

Last year, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 yards, but DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon accounted for more than 2,000 of those yards. Doctson, Crowder and certainly Pryor are likely to be the major recepients of Cousins' aerial prowess. Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis and Chris Thompson accounted for another 1,618 yards last year.

Keep in mind, this is the last year of Grant's rookie contract. If there was ever a time to show in games what coaches have long seen and loved in practice, this would be the year. It seems only an injury would give him a major opportunity. If the situation came to pass, Gruden would have faith in Grant. 

<<CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS TRAINING CAMP>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!