Alfred Morris Adds Juice to Offense

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ESPN Staff Writer, Jean-Jacques Taylor would have you believe the Alfred Morris signing was a bad idea. He would also have you believe DeMarco Murray was a much better running back for the Cowboys.

alfred morris
Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris loses his helmet during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Landover, Md., Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The Cowboys signed 27 year old Alfred Morris to a two-year deal worth $3.75 million. According to Jean-Jaques, Morris has nearly 1,100 carries the past four years, more than any NFL player, and his yardage totals have dipped from 1,613 as a rookie to 751 last season.

“More important, perhaps, is that Alfred Morris has been at his best against the Cowboys, with 710 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games. Three of his 13 100-yard games, including the only 200-yard game of his career, came against the Cowboys.”

“The issue is that the Cowboys are putting quite a bit of pressure on their offensive line to make average runners good instead of putting a good runner behind them whom they can make great, which is what they did with DeMarco Murray, who gained 1,845 yards on 392 carries in 2014.”

“It’s why they should take a quality runner in the second or third round of the draft and let McFadden and Morris compete for the backup job behind whichever rookie they draft.”

He also said “they’d (the coaches) tell you about Darren McFadden finishing fourth in the NFL with 1,089 yards despite starting just 10 games. If you watched the games, then you know McFadden had a good year statistically, though his numbers didn’t translate to wins.”

“He wasn’t effective enough to make teams commit an eighth defender to stop the Cowboys’ running game, and he no longer has the top-end speed to be a difference-maker.”

That appears to be a pretty convincing article, but it’s easy to manipulate stats to fit your personal opinion or agenda. Simple things like failing to mention that despite having the worst season of his career in 2015 Alfred Morris rushed for 751 yards as compared to 702 yards by Murray. Or that Alfred Morris averaged 3.7 YPC as compared to Murray’s 3.6.

It makes Alfred Morris look pretty bad saying his production dropped from 1,613 yards in 2012 to 751 in 2015. Why not mention Jay Gruden has a different offensive philosophy and  he was sharing carries with Matt Jones (144 carries 490 yards 3.4 YPC) in a two back system? The simple fact his carries decreased from  335 in 2012 to 202 in 2015 explains the decrease in production. Why not mention the fact that DeMarco Murray’s production dropped from 1,845 yards in 2014 (4.7 YPC) to 702 yards in 2015 (3.6 YPC)?

Why not mention the fact that Alfred Morris has had over 1,000 yards rushing 3 out of his 4 years in the NFL as compared to 2 of the 5 for Murray? The reality is, both players saw a significant decrease in production in 2015.  Both saw less carries too. However, If you are going to mention McFadden having a history of breaking down, you need to mention the fact that 2014 was the only time Murray completed a season without missing time due to injury. In fact, he missed time again in 2015 with injury and only started 8 games. Murray has started 55 of a possible 80 games as compared to 64 of 64 by Morris. Durability matters folks. So does consistency.

This type of stat manipulation is common among journalists who are trying to impress their views upon fans of the Dallas Cowboys in order to make a point as to what they think the Cowboys need to do in the draft. The Cowboys are well aware of the fact they need to draft a running back. The Alfred Morris signing was a wise move because it enables them to enter the draft with two proven veterans at the position. They wont be pigeon holed in to reaching for a RB and can focus on drafting the best player available.

Saying the Cowboys should name an unproven rookie as the starter before he ever suits up in the NFL, and the veteran a backup is one of the most ridiculous things I ever heard. The most important thing for the Cowboys moving forward is protecting Tony Romo. It is a rare thing for a rookie RB to be proficient in pass protection day one. Personally, I feel much more comfortable with a proven veteran being in charge of blitz pick up.

Overall, Alfred Morris has proven to be a consistent and durable running back. Never missing a start due to injury in itself makes this a good signing. We all saw what DeMarco Murray was able to do without the help of the Cowboys offensive line in Philadelphia. I don’t know about you, but I am anxious to see what Morris can do with it.

I did watch all the games folks, and knowing the Cowboys were missing their starter Tony Romo, teams repeatedly loaded the box to take away the run and dared them to take a shot down the field under Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel. I have no idea where he came up with the idea that McFadden wasn’t facing eight man boxes, but much like the rest of his argument against Alfred Morris, it’s a mute point. Rest easy Cowboys faithful, they got a solid, durable RB on a very cap-friendly deal. There is still a lot of gas left in that tank.

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  • Johnathan Nguyen

    I think so too Al. Morris is a nice addition to our team. I’m interested to see if Morris is going to be the starter. I thought DMC still got some speed to him. For me personally, I hope Henry falls so we can snatch him up.

    • BigDIndiana

      Heard JJ say he thought DMac would get the majority since he did well last year. Didn’t look like he had lost too much on some of them sweeps I saw. Doesn’t matter to me really which one gets the most as they are both good backs. We would have to take Henry with the 2nd pick and not sure how you would split the carries between those 3. If I’m not mistaken none of those 3 play special teams.We need someone maybe in the 4th with pass catching skills, like Dunbar, if he can’t play to start the season. Washington or Ervin my choices.

      • you know I am a booker fan and he can catch. Should be there in the 3rd with any luck

        • BigDIndiana

          I like him too and thought 3rd would be a good RB spot until we got Morris. Don’t think there is any chance he is there in the 4th which is why I picked the other 2. I get the feeling they are going to pick a QB in the 3rd. Maybe Listenbee there with his 4.3 speed.

      • I am going to do an article and bust out the NFL. I don’t care how much money they have behind them. They are not above the supreme court of the United States of America or the constitution. Every time we write an article that goes against their propaganda machine that includes a youtube video with an embed code there for sharing. they have youtube block it from my site. I had enough. I will quote the exception to copyright laws in my article and let them have it. I am flattered though that the powers that be are reading our stuff. They just haven’t seen me in bitch mode yet. I am going there! I can download the videos and run them without youtube, include the the exception law code and tell them to piss off! grrrr

        • BigDIndiana

          wow, that is interesting. seems censorship and “PC police” have run amuck all over the place. go get ’em cowgirl 🙂

    • I agree too. I had him in fantasy and he was money until Gruden started the 2 back system and limited his carries. Plus they started passing more after benching RG bust. Morris is still a good back and never had an Oline like we have. I think he will do great.