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Need to Know: Does Morris need the read option to thrive?

Jul 18, 2013, 6:00 AM EST

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Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 18, seven days before the Redskins start training camp.

Does Morris need the threat of the read option?

One of the big questions surrounding the 2013 Redskins involves changes to their offense. If the Redskins run less of the read option attack that was so successful for them last year, will Robert Griffin III be less effective?

The secondary question there involves 1600-yard running back Alfred Morris. How much did his effectiveness rely on the read option and the threat of Griffin taking off with the ball? While we won’t know until they line up in September, there is some pretty strong evidence that Morris could still thrive in a more conventional attack.

For one thing, look at what Morris was able to accomplish when Griffin was out and when he was playing hurt. When Kirk Cousins started for an injured RG3 in Week 15 against the Browns, Morris picked up 87 yards. In the last two games of the season when Griffin was playing with a bulky knee brace and wasn’t much of a threat to take it to the house on any given play Morris rushed for 91 and 200 yards. That’s an average of 126 yards per game in those three games.

That deals with the RG3 threat but what about Morris running on read option plays? He averaged 4.8 yards per carry for the season. On non-zone read runs his average was a very healthy 4.6 yards. And he averaged less than four zone read runs per game.

Again, we won’t really know how things will shake out when the season starts. But the evidence indicates that Morris is a solid running back who doesn’t have to rely on other players or a scheme to be very productive.

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Days until: Training camp starts 7; Preseason Monday night vs. Steelers 32; Eagles @ Redskins 53

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