By Tarik El-Bashir
Alfred Morris’ nose for the end zone and uncanny ability to make defenders miss are well documented.
What’s less obvious about the Redskins’ running back is his tireless work ethic. In fact, he occasionally has be told by the coaching staff to conserve energy in practice.
“Alfred is very conscientious,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Thursday. “He never feels like he’s arrived. He’s working every day in practice [and] walkthroughs.”
Shanahan added: “He only goes one speed. We try to slow him down in walkthrough [because] he’s running as hard as he can.”
Morris pulls up to Redskins Park each day in a 1991 Mazda with crank down windows. On Sunday, he'll arrive in Week 5 of his first NFL season tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns (four) and ranked fifth in rushing yards (376).
“I don’t even pay attention to that,” Morris said. “I heard that stat. But I don’t look up that stuff. I don’t be on the Internet. I don’t be on these news channels or anything. I just run. The only stat I focus on is wins and losses.”
As impressive as Morris has been, Kyle Shanahan said it’s the 23-year-old’s hunger to improve that sets him apart.
“He’s always going to get better because he works at it,” Shanahan said. “Al’s best thing is running the ball, which everybody sees. But he’s got to get better in all those other aspects – and he has. Just catching the ball, he’s come a long way since OTAs. You feel confident throwing him the ball.”
Shanahan also said Morris continues to make significant strides in pass protection.
“He’s come a long way,” he said. “All guys out of college struggle with protections because it’s a lot more complex with the looks that you get. He’s more upset with himself when he has a bust in protection than when he has a bad run. When you have a guy like that, you have a chance to learn it quicker than others.”