The Washington Redskins offense was largely ineffective in a 32-21 loss to the New York Giants Thursday night. The ground game was a major disappointment; the Skins rushed for just 88 yards and the skins failed to produce a rushing touchdown. When they did run the ball, the feature back looked to be the rookie Matt Jones, who rushed 11 times for 38 yards.
The starting running back Alfred Morris surprisingly didn’t get much love against the Giants; he only carried the ball six times for 19 yards. He barely saw the field in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter, which almost exclusively featured Jones. Even Chris Thompson saw the field more than Morris did in the second half (Thompson had 29 rush yards on two carries, and he had 57 receiving yards and a touchdown on eight catches).
Morris didn’t look to be injured, and he didn’t do enough to warrant receiving a breather, so the question that had to have gone through people’s heads was, where is he, and why isn’t he more involved in the game?
Morris is in a pivotal year; this is the final season in his rookie contract. He has been extremely productive in the National Football League since he was drafted in the sixth round out of Florida A&M in 2012, having rushed for 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons. He is a workhorse of a back, is incredibly durable, despite his physical running style. The two biggest knocks on Morris in his short career so far have been that he’s a non-factor as a receiver, and he’s not very good at pass-blocking.
Jones, like Morris, is a big, physical back who’s hard to tackle and is a downhill runner, but unlike Morris, jones is a better receiver out the backfield, and he is a three-down back; he can be trusted to stay in on third down and pick up blitzes and protect the quarterback. His abilities as a blocker were on display throughout the game Thursday night, as he constantly picked up blitzes and helped to quarterback Kirk Cousins, who was only sacked once.
Morris and Jones have been exciting as a tandem, but it doesn’t look like it’ll last that way past this season. This is the second week that Jones has essentially assumed command of the rushing attack; Week 2 against the Rams he had more carries and more than twice as many yards as Morris did in the 24-10 win. If jones continues to shine, the quarterback situation won’t be the only controversy in the nation’s capital.
Spark Sports NFL Analyst