Is Alfred Morris A Top 5 Back In The NFL?

Posted on November 08, 2013 by Cameron Duncan

Alfred Morris Exits Tunnel

Alfred Morris Exits Tunnel

Lets start off by looking at preseason rankings. Mat Miller of Bleacher Report placed Morris at #11. Three of the backs ahead of him were CJ Spiller (#2), Ray Rice (#3) and Doug Martin (#8). Chris Wesseling of NFL.com ranked him in his “Answering the bell” group placing him outside the top 10. Players ahead of him on this list include the ones on Matt Miller’s list as well as Trent Richardson and Maurice Jones-Drew. Jordan Schultz of the Huffington Post gave Morris the highest ranking putting him at number 9.

Now 10 games into the NFL season I think it is time to reexamine these rankings. I assume most would objectively agree that the Alfred Morris has been better than Rice, Martin, Spiller, Jones-Drew and Richardson. I would argue that there is a strong case to consider him a better back than Frank Gore, Matt Forte, and possibly Marshawn Lynch. Even more importantly I think I can confidently state that there is not a better runner in the NFL than Morris this year. Don’t believe me? Take a look…

Let’s start this off with some stats. Heading into the Vikings game Morris was 3rd in the league in yards per game behind only LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson. He is 1st in the league in yards per attempt among running backs. He is 9th in the league in rushing touchdowns despite having some touchdowns stolen by the likes of Darrel Young and Roy Helu. Morris is also tied for first among running backs with 7 carries of 20 yards or more. Not to mention he has done all of this while being 7th in the league in touches. To put it simply there is not a running back in the NFL right now who is running the ball better than Morris. One thing is clear; Alfred Morris is even better than he was last year when he finished second in the NFL in yards. All of these stats should only go up as he averaged 5.3 yards a carry and rushed for 139 yards against the Vikings.

The biggest knock against Morris is his lack of contribution in the passing game. He hasn’t caught a pass since week 2 and only has 3 catches for 22 yards all season. It is one of the main reasons why the LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles and Matt Forte type players will always garner more attention from the fans and media. I will concede that it is a legitimate knock on Morris but it is also important to look at backs like Adrian Peterson. The majority of the football world would pick Peterson when asked who the best running back in the NFL is. But Peterson isn’t that involved in the passing game. He only had 217 receiving yards last year and only has 163 yards so far this year. Adrian Peterson the guy that most would call the best running back in the NFL isn’t a big part of the passing game yet people ignore that fact. It just goes to show you that a running backs main job is to run the ball and that is something Morris can clearly do.

Still, his lack of production in the passing game makes it hard to make a case for him to be better overall back than Charles, McCoy, and Peterson. However, he is still performing as well as any running back in the NFL on the ground. It’s time Alfred Morris got the credit he deserves. He is a top 5 back in the NFL right now and possibly the most important running back to his team outside of Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles. He won’t wow you with his speed and he isn’t flashy but he will continue to churn out yards and prove doubters wrong. If he continues to work on his pass catching ability like he did this offseason the sky is the limit.

Posted in: Washington Redskins
next up:

A Look Ahead

November 07, 2013

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