Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Has Alfred Morris been Disrespected?

By Waleo

In 2012, the Washington Redskins drafted big names like quarterbacks Robert Griffin III out of Baylor (2nd pick overall) and Kirk Cousins out of Michigan State (4th round pick).  In the 6th round of the 2012 draft, the Redskins drafted little known running back Alfred Morris out of Florida Atlantic.  On the depth chart, Morris was behind Roy Helu, Tim Hightower, and Evan Royster.  Many people thought Royster would start because he played well during the end of the 2011 season.  Morris did what he always does; he worked hard and became the starting running back for the team.    That season Morris ran for 1,613 yards, finishing second behind Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson in rushing yardage.   It is easy to forget about Morris’ magical season because everybody saw the greatness of rookie of the year RGIII.   But you can make the argument that Alfred Morris was the dude that kept that team together and led the Redskins to the 2012 NFC East crown.

Since coming into the NFL, Morris has been one of the best running backs.  Morris has reached 1,000 plus yards every season while being in the NFL.  Statistically he has been up there with running backs like LeSean McCoy (then Philadelphia Eagles), Peterson, and Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs).  Over the last three seasons Morris has had more rushing yards (3,962) than McCoy, Peterson and Charles.  Yet, this running back is still on his rookie deal (4 years $2.22 million) Why?   Is it because the Redskins don’t like humble and hardworking players?  Or is it because they are taking advantage of Morris’ humility?  During his rookie year Morris drove a 1991 Mazda 626 to Redskins Park. Come on man, for an athlete that’s humility at its finest.   I have a regular nine to five and I would never push that to the office. The Redskins have a Clark Kent off the field but an on Superman on it.  He is able to run through defenders and sacrifice for the team.  While the Redskins were worrying about how they could move the football with inconsistent quarterback play Morris was there carrying the load.  However it seems like the Redskins won’t take care of him like other teams would do their own.

Adrian Peterson was suspended for pretty much the whole season last year for beating his child.  The Minnesota Vikings knew his value.  They didn’t cut him or trade him.  The Vikings honored his past, present and future by reconstructing his contract (3yrs approx. 44 million). Arguably, Peterson is the best running back in the game, but statistically Morris is very comparable within his production over the last three seasons (which I stated earlier).  I believe that Peterson is more important to the Vikings than say Morris however Morris like Peterson has been the guy leading the offense.  Pay the man!  How about paying someone who has done right by your organization?  How about paying a guy who has been one of the premiere running backs over the last 3 seasons?  Crazy idea, right?  I know.

In the offseason the Redskins drafted running back Matt Jones out of the University of Florida (3rd round pick).  Jones is a power back with promise.   It made me think.  Why would the Redskins draft a similar style of running back?  Why not draft a shifty speed running back?  I stopped questioning the draft pick after Redskins’ head coach Jay Gruden stated that Alfred Morris is the featured running back on the team.   In training camp, there were reports stating that Jones looked good but you barely heard anything about the progression of Morris.  Preseason starts and Morris looks shifty and good.  You saw flashes of Jones but nothing special.  Again, I just dismissed the thought that Alfred Morris was being low balled. 

Then the regular season starts Morris plays well in a loss against the Miami Dolphins.   Morris had 121 yards within 25 carries compared to Jones who had 28 yards on only 6 carries.  In game two against the St. Louis Rams Morris and Jones split carries.  Morris had 59 yards on 18 carries and Jones had 123 yards on 19 carries.  After the game, Gruden was asked about the limited carries for Morris and Gruden said “the plan was to keep both backs fresh, so I intend on them both getting plenty of touches.  I don’t really care who is in there.” I don’t care who is really in there? Have you ever seen McCoy, or Peterson treated that way?  I haven’t, but hey the team won so it was all good.  I spoke to Morris in the locker about the split in carries and he said “I just want to win”; showing that he is willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the team.   Again pay this man his money please!   

Here comes primetime Redskins vs. Giants on Thursday Night football.  Morris, who is 5th all-time on the Redskins rushing yards list, only carried the ball 6 times compared to Jones who carried the ball 11 times.  Add in that Jones got the first carry of the game.   Morris deserves more respect from the coaching staff and organization.  The organization needs to pay him for his service to this team.  Fans always argue that players are handed too much.  Well here is a player that is humble and is willing to work for his reward and the organization chooses not to bless him with the “love.”  This disgusts me as an individual that believes that a man who puts it all on the line should be fairly compensated.  As for the coaching staff, don’t embarrass this man on national TV.  Jones didn’t show you anything special against the Giants.  He didn’t prove to be the hot hand.  Morris has done too much for this organization for coaches or whoever to not let him showcase his talents on Thursday night.  We are not talking about a bum; we are talking about statistically a top tier running back.  Hopefully the team smartens up and understands that they have a special athlete on their hands and decides to treat him right before they regret it.

Check out Soul N Sports on Fox Sports Radio 1340 AMHopewell, Virginia Monday-Friday from 5-7 pm ET. Also check out the UrbanSports Scene podcast show every Tuesday at 7:30 pm ET. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Unflappable: A Word That Could Soon Define Kirk Cousins

By The USS Blogger

Unflappable is defined as having or showing calmness in crisis. In NFL terms, the word unflappable quickly triggers thoughts of guys like John Elway and Tom Brady who’ve shown uncanny resolve in difficult moments and consistently find ways to win. On the eve of the Redskins first road game since being dubbed “Kirk’s team” Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins has the opportunity to GROW his level of unflappability. Cousins has already overcome poor play, the public spectacle that is RG3, and on a more serious note—playing through the storm that is his father’s battle with cancer. Is this not a better time than now?

The 0-2 New York Giants look extremely vulnerable and for a change, the Redskins are coming into a game where the opposing squad is the team being pummeled by the media for disorganization and player chatter. However, just last season Giants quarterback Eli Manning came to Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland and dismantled the skins in a similar primetime affair. So what is to be expected if Eli comes out firing on all cylinders or Cousins throws an early pick or two? How will Cousins and his team respond? Statistics are not necessarily encouraging. At Michigan State, Cousins was just 8 – 6 on the road and in each road loss he threw at least one interception including a 3 pick performance at Iowa, against the Iowa Hawkeyes in 2010. In his NFL career, he has 11 interceptions in six road appearances (one in relief at Denver).

This season is different though with improved play up front and an evolving running game; it is expected for Cousins to have the proper support to pull off a solid road win. Another encouraging sign is during the 2011 season in Michigan State, he came back to torch Iowa on the road for 3 touchdowns and zero interceptions just a year following his 3 pick stinker. Couple in him having full support from his current head coach Jay Gruden, Cousins has the chance to play at a very high level.

By seasons’ end I fully expect everyone to recollect on all the obstacles he had to overcome, beginning with just being selected by Washington in the first place.  The 2012 draft was also the day Robert Griffin III became threatened because he knew this probably was not Sean Salisbury or Jason Garrett behind him posing as some career backup.  With that being said, he still has a lot to prove. I’m not saying he can win a Super bowl, but hinting that he just may have a future in D.C. 

If you’re reading this, I ask that you please familiarize yourself with my work. My resume is pretty impressive which includes predicting that Gary Williams would step down as the Terps head basketball coach and that Terry Francona would be fired as Red Sox manager.  You can listen to what I’m referring by visiting www.waleo.podbean.com.  Now sit back and watch how Kirk Cousins plays at a higher than expected level because I told you so.  

Check out Soul N Sports on Fox Sports Radio 1340 AMHopewell, Virginia Monday-Friday from 5-7 pm ET. Also check out the Urban Sports Scene podcast show every Tuesday at 7:30 pm ET.  

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Mystery of Jay Gruden

By The USS Blogger

An award winning article was in the works outlining the fall of Washington’s current head man, his possible replacement, and cementing his place in the star sibling hall of shame next to Byron Westbrook and Tim Hasselbeck. However, following two solid Redskin performances and what appears to be a wide open NFC East, maybe Jason Pierre Paul will be unable to count the number of Redskin victories on his fingers in 2015. And while it’s difficult to admit, Jay Gruden set the tone by doing the anti-Shanahan and making a firm decision at quarterback. Through 18 games as coach, Jay Gruden has compiled a record of 5 – 13, which on the surface, supports the masses; who feel as though he is not cut out for the job. There is substantial evidence to support this claim, ranging from his struggles in dealing with the media, public clashes with his former starting QB, and disorganization on defense and special teams last season. Here’s an important point though—aren’t we as fans just a tad impatient? To some degree I get it.  The Redskins have had countless losing seasons coupled with utter chaos.  The team and owner Daniel Snyder has garnered non-football related national headlines which has produced symptoms of insanity for the team and fan base. 

Looking around the league, it is almost a certainty that we can find a successful coach who started out his NFL career with adversity. Hmmmmm, anyone watch Fox sports? There is Terry, Howie, Michael, and ……..Jimmy. Yes, let’s take a look at the legendary rival head coach whom began his Dallas career with 1 – 15 campaign followed by a 7 – 9 season. We should all know what followed.  But here’s the question:  Can Jay Gruden receive an equal opportunity with the Washington Redskins? The team is displaying vast improvement that includes an emerging level of toughness. Another key component, thus far, is the Redskins are playing solid football with key players being out (i.e. DeSean Jackson, Niles Paul, Chris Culliver, Duke Ihenacho and Bashaud Breeland).  I’m fully cognizant that the NFL is a week to week league and much can change. I feel however, that my newly discovered support for Jay Gruden is modest compared to what was said postgame from this starving fan base that included the terms pro bowler, all pro, and MVP for start right tackle Morgan Moses. Now that’s a joke, maybe Morgan Moses is most improved, but even that’s a stretch.  What I am saying is let’s give Gruden his just due. There’s a high probability that he will be gone if the Redskins finish with seven wins or below.  But what if he’s Jimmy Johnson? The resumes are different, but there is an if.   Especially, if the team is playing at a high level compared to last season. Progression in life is so important for all of us.  In this case, I believe it will translate to an ample increase in victories this season. #grudenadvocacy  

Check out Soul N Sports on Fox Sports Radio 1340 AM Hopewell,Virginia Monday-Friday from 5-7 pm ET.  Also check out the Urban Sports Scene podcast show every Tuesday at 7:30 pm ET.