To go along with Robert Griffin III, the Redskins have two young offensive skill position stars in WR Pierre Garcon and RB Alfred Morris. Now there is no reason why they shouldn’t have both for at least the foreseeable future, but in this scenario they can only choose one. Who would it be and why?
-He’s under contract for the next four years.
-He’s still pretty young (27 this year)
-He fits the offense extremely well, and has the break-away speed to pick up a ton of yards after the catch. Making him deadly both in the screen game and on the 15-18 yard crossing routes.
-The Redskins were 9-1 (in the regular season) in games that he started.
-He has good chemistry with RGIII
-He’s had good success for multiple years now, and with multiple quarterbacks (though two of them are Peyton Manning and RGIII)
-He’s a good downfield blocking receiver
-The Redskins are a run first offense so the value of receivers is lower.
-Robert Griffin has shown that he likes to spread the ball around in the passing game, giving even less value to the Redskins top receiver
-His contract is one of the biggest on the team
-The Redskins have quality depth at the receiver position (albeit with two impending free agents), the passing attack did not falter when Garcon was hobbled or out last season.
-Morris was the 2nd leading rusher last year in the NFL, and is easily a top 10 running back heading into this season.
-Morris is very young, just 24 years old to start the season.
-He is incredibly cheap and under control for the next three years
-The Redskins are a run focused team, and their success is reliant on the backs getting the job done. The Redskins were 9-1 (including the postseason) when Alfred Morris had 20 or more carries.
-Morris did a lot of his own work as well, as he got a very high percentage of yards after contract.
-With RG3‘s carries likely to be reduced in the future, a greater workload will fall on the running backs
-Mike Shanahan has a long track record of finding quality running backs out of nowhere
-Morris does not offer much as a receiver or pass blocker at this point, which does reduce his overall value.
-The shelf life of running backs is relatively pretty short and that is even more so applicable with 300 carry running backs
-Though pretty unlikely, there is at least the chance that Morris’s season was a fluke last year, and he won’t come close to repeating it
-Though he is currently cheap and under control for a while, it is likely the Redskins will have to renegotiate his contract before the 3 remaining years are up. Typically it is that 2nd RB contract that teams end up regretting.
For me the answer is Alfred Morris and it all comes down to who will be utilized the most. Now that is not trying to compare targets versus carries, because obviously the running back will always win that one. It is more to say how they will be utilized in the offense. For the Redskins and Mike Shanahan, it is clear the running game is crucial for their success. If a Shanahan team can’t run, they typically can’t win. In this offense the run really sets up the pass, by providing a lot of favorable passing situations (2nd or 3rd and short). Given the fact that Redskins will likely end up around 50/50 in their run pass ratio, it is likely that Morris will be a top five runner (in at least carries, but probably yards and YPC as well) year in year out. Given the lack of passing (relative to the league) and how the Redskins spread the ball around, Garcon will likely never crack the top 15 in targets or catches (much less yards). Yes Mike Shanahan has a great track record at unearthing running backs, but that doesn’t mean he’d give up a top level runner. Though the longevity of runners is always a concern, Morris coming off just one season with no major injury concerns, is about the best situation for a runner that you can have. Garcon is fun to watch in this offense, but Morris is what really makes it go.
Who would you choose and why?