Last week, Robert Griffin III called Redskins running back Alfred Morris the greatest offensive threat on the team. The numbers give credence to RG3's claim; in two seasons Morris has rushed for almost 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns. In 2013, Morris accounted for more than 60 percent of the team's rushing attempts. While Morris is undeniably a beast with the ball in his hands, the third-year man out of Florida Atlantic is also putting a ton of mileage on his body.
While running the offense of the Cincinatti Bengals, Jay Gruden liked to get more running backs involved, limiting the punishment one runner would take. For that to continue as head coach of the Washington Redskins, Gruden will likely need to lean on Roy Helu more.
As Morris' backup, and a more nimble pass catcher out of the backfield, Helu took the ball on about 13 percent of Washington's run plays. What's surprising, Helu scored four touchdowns while Morris scored seven. Morris had a much greater opportunity to score touchdowns, but Helu saw a lot of success out of the team's "turbo" package that would at times be used in the red zone.
Gone is the turbo package, a relic of the Shanahan regime, and subsequently new offensive sets will emerge under Gruden. Another thing to consider, RG3 is likely to run the ball significantly less under Gruden. Last season, even in his return from knee surgery, Griffin had the second most rushing attempts on the team, more than 20 more attempts than Helu. Some of those runs were not designed, rather Griffin escaping a broken pocket or play, but many were designed runs or read option plays. Expect to see that diminish.
What is the appropriate percentage of rushes between Morris and Helu? Should the 'Skins ask a bit less of Morris over the course of the season in hopes of keeping his burst and power fresh late into the year? Or is Morris the type of runner who gets stronger as others slow down? Do the 'Skins need to get Helu more involved? Will another runner, Evan Royster or Lache Seastrunk perhaps, emerge as a Gruden favorite?
Let us know what you think in the comments.