Hello other loyal Redskins fans. It's Dallas Week. I'm excited, are you? I couldn't help watching the replay of the Thanksgiving game on NFL Network last night, and all of its second quarter glory. Anyway, it got me thinking. Is there any reason to start to worry about Alfred Morris?
And no, i'm not talking about the 'fumbling' issues he has had. I put that in quotes because i don't really see it as a problem. When you run it as much as we do, there will be a couple of fumbles. But that point, running the ball as much as we do, led me to this. How many carries is too many carries?
Historically in the NFL, or at least in the last decade there have been several examples of Running Backs hitting a certain wall after a season when they carry the ball more than 300+ times. I got a little concerned because i knew that Alfred Morris was already above 300 + carries, so I started going through the statistics.
Now, I made a spreadsheet of all the Running Backs that carried over 300 times in the last year, and only a few really stood out. Luckily, for all of us who are Alfred Morris fans, the problem wasn't over 300 carries, there was a significant drop off around 350+ carries. Let's all take a collective sigh of relief, and then hope he doesn't carry it 49 times against the Cowboys. Spoiler Alert, He Won't.
Here are some examples.
Ricky Williams, who gets noted often in this discussion, carried it in 2002 a league high of 383 times for 1,853 yards. 2003, he carried it, again, a league high of 392 times for 1,372 yards. Now right there... you see a drop off of about 500 yds with TEN more carries in that year. That is a 4.8 YPC average, down to a whopping 3.5 YPC. We all know the next year he took a leave of absence to enjoy some 'recreational' activities before he came back in the league in 2005 and played mostly a back-up role. He only had one more 1,000 yard season in his career.
Jamal Lewis, most likely a HOFer, ran the ball 387 times for 2,066 yards in 2003. I believe that was good for the 2nd best rushing yards in a season. He HALVED that amount the year after 2003, running for 1,006 yards. Now, he would still have a fairly decent career after this record setting year, but he took a lot less carries the years after that.
Ahman Green (2003), Deuce McAllister (2003), and Curtis Martin (2004), ran it 355, 351, and 371 times those years. In those years, they all ran for it over 1,600 yards. They averaged a 42% drop off in production the year following. That is almost half of the amount of yards. Granted, there are other factors in this like being near the end of a career, or losing their starting position, but the point still stands. They ran for it over 350+ times in the first year, and the following production is down.
Shaun Alexander, oh yes. Need I say more? Back to back years of 350+ carries, and averaged right under 1800 yards a season. His Career fell off a cliff after that season in 2005. Hell, he even ended up in Washington, and we all know what that means. Correction: We all KNEW what that MEANT.
Larry Johnson in 2006 ran 416 times for 1789 yards. The next season: 559 yards.
We all know about Clinton Portis and the injury issues after his season with 352 carries.
Now, there is always an exception to the rules. Tiki Barber, Edgerrin James, LaDanian Tomlinson. All of these Running backs had 2, 3, 4, consecutive seasons in the 300-350 rushing attempts area and still managed to maintain 1,000 yard seasons afterwards.
So Let's all hope for two things: One, That Alfred Morris isn't just a flash-in-the-pan for the Redskins. and Two, that he carries it less than 49 times on Sunday Night.
And, oh yeah, that he breaks the franchise record for most rushing yards in a season. HTTR!