There was nothing too cheerful about being a free agent this offseason for Alfred Morris, who ended up joining the Dallas Cowboys, and has plenty of reasons to be motivated for his game against his former team, the Washington Redskins.
Morris had no problems leaving the Redskins, the team he has played for since 2012 when he entered the NFL as rookie, and joining their division rivals. Since the coaching change in Washington from Mike Shanahan to Jay Gruden before the 2014 season, Morris has seen his touches and production drop. Maybe it’s just him peaking early and then declining, but it didn’t seem like Morris was too important for Gruden, especially in 2015, when he rushed for a career low 751 yards, getting 202 carries.
So Morris had interest from the Cowboys, Dolphins and Broncos, saying the whole experience was insulting. He ended up joining the Cowboys for 2 years and $5.5 million: Eventually Dallas came knocking. I did a visit and it just seemed like a good fit. So I said, ‘Why not?’ It’s a rival team, but I didn’t even think about that. I was a kid trying to keep his dream alive and it just happened to fall to the rival team.
Morris is #2 on the Cowboys running back depth chart, sitting behind Ezekiel Elliott. He didn’t do too badly when called upon in the 20-21 opening week loss to the New York Giants, rushing 7 times for 35 yards. The Cowboys might look to Morris and Elliott a bit more in week 2: The Redskins could not stop the run against the Pittsburgh Steelers (DeAngelo Williams had 143 rushing yards), and Dak Prescott throwing the ball 45 times might not be the best thing for the Cowboys offense.
Morris has good memories from Washington, producing three consecutive 1000-yard rushing seasons there. However, the ending left a bitter taste, and the Cowboys hopes it works in their favor, as both teams head into this divisional game without a win.