Grading the Redskins: Running back

Grading the Redskins: Running back
October 5, 2013, 1:15 pm
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DBs coach Raheem Morris talks about young secondary

Tandler - Tarik

At 1-3, a quarter of the Redskins’ season is already in the books. It’s not the start the reigning NFC East champions had envisioned, but given the sorry state of their division, all hope is not lost, either. As the team enters its Week 5 bye, the players are on hiatus but Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are grading the team position-by-position. Join the conversation in the comments below.

The Redskins' running game isn’t quite where it was last year but it’s not all the running backs’ fault. Game situations and defenses keying on what worked so well for the team in 2012 have slowed things down. But how are the backs doing? 

Tandler: Let’s start with fullback Darrel Young. Even though he plays only about a third of the snaps, he has been solid run blocking and, especially, pass blocking. On a few occasions he has stonewalled defenders intent on doing harm to Robert Griffin III. Alfred Morris was a bit tentative after he fumbled his first carry of the season but he is rounding back into form. Even though he has yet to get rolling he is still on pace to gain nearly 1,200 yards rushing. When Morris was injured against the Raiders, Roy Helu Jr. took advantage of his opportunity by setting up and then scoring the game-clinching touchdown. 

Grade: A-

El-Bashir: Morris is a self-described workhorse running back. The more he’s used, the better he plays. In 2012, the Redskins were 9-1 in the regular season when he carried the ball 20 or more times. In the Skins' season-saving win a week ago, he was on pace to have 20 carries for the first time this year but was forced to exit early with a rib injury after a season-high 16 touches. Morris’ 5.3 yards per attempt, meantime, are tied with Reggie Bush for seventh most in the NFL (and up from 4.8 a year ago). As the third most important player on offense (behind Griffin and Trent Williams), the Skins had better hope Morris heals up during the bye. Helu, meantime, has made his biggest impact as a receiver, hauling in seven passes for 91 yards. In 16 games last season, no running back had more 109 receiving yards.

Grade: B