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The Second Diamond

One of many experimental iterations ...

servumtuum

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It's not all that often that an NFL team has a jewel fall into their lap-a player whose athletic ability and football skills are exceptional but whose personality, whose demeanor, whose basic character and humility in the face of amazing achievement serves as an example of what the "ideal" team player and all-around great person and true professional football player should be.

I like to call them "Diamonds". The Redskins have one that the entire NFL world is simply taken with like few in recent history in Robert Griffin III.

But......what is almost impossibly rare is for a team to be so fortunate as to have not one but two such gems happen at the same time.

I give you Alfred Morris-the rookie running back who considers a tackle not a stop but a challenge to keep running, almost an insult-"Stop me? I don't think so."

The one-two rookie punch that centers the Redskins return not only to respectability but to engendering fear in even strong NFL teams. The marvelous combination that has Redskins fans more giddy than they've been in years-and for which thy are more than thankful.

And like his teammate Robert, Alfred has the rare gift of humility, character and gratitude for being able to play pro football that makes him the second jewel in the new crown the Redskins proudly wear.

The second "Diamond".

By Mike Wise, Published: December 4


Just once, let Alfred Morris be a boastful, big-time, straight bling-in’ diva — if for no other reason than we will officially know him as a starting running back in Washington.

Let him strut through the locker room with a platinum-diamond rope. Pull up to the practice facility in an Aston Martin speedster. Create an alter ego or two for himself: “Alfredo the Tornado” or “Rock Solid.” Maybe speak of himself in the third person.

“To all my haters: Alfred Morris understands football, all right? A back like Alfred Morris didn’t just get picked in the sixth round out of Florida Atlantic for nothing, okay?”

Otherwise, how will we recognize him as a big-time back? This humble young man is just too much of a culture shock right now. The most durable, rough-and-tumble regular in the Redskins backfield since Clinton Portis is so much unlike Portis — so much like any offensive prima donna entering the league leading with his bravado — you don’t know what to make of him.

“I’m just blessed,” he said genuinely Monday night, another game in which Morris flew under the radar that tracks Robert Griffin III’s water breaks and beyond.

Blessed?

Really, you can’t just puzzle and pummel the defending Super Bowl champions for 244 yards in two games, rush for more yards than any rookie in team history, put your head and shoulders down as you run the clock out on Monday night against the New York Giants and then shrug your shoulders to say, “I’m so grateful, so thankful. It’s such a blessing to be here. I’ll never take this for granted. It just solidified even more that I’ll never take this for granted.”

Come on, Alfred, Barry Sanders already did that.

You can’t just roll up to practice in your silver, 1991 Mazda 626 sedan — with a Kelley blue book value of roughly $1,200 — and refuse to upgrade your vehicle because the car you’ve named “Bentley” means too much to you to give it up. Bentley has no shot at being on “Pimp My Ride.” Bentley won’t even make it in an Easterns Motors commercial, let alone have a carburetor that purrs in third person.

The truth: Without Morris, there is no memorable rookie year for Griffin — and vice versa. They are dependent on one another.

Without Griffin’s fleet and flash and ball deception that already rivals Tom Brady’s play-action skills, the defense waits for Morris. Without the shifty and strong Morris, RGIII has one less dimension with which to fool his pursuers, one less weapon to take the considerable load on himself.

In many ways, it’s the perfect 1-2, quarterback-running back punch: One guy soaks in the attention and adulation; the other is fine just to be here.

Morris’s worst rookie nightmare came to fruition Monday night when he fumbled inside the 10-yard line in the second half of a nip-and-tuck game with the Giants. The underdog who beat out an injured Tim Hightower, Roy Helu and Evan Royster to become perhaps the biggest surprise of training camp had all those old small-school, sixth-round, what-if-they-don’t-believe-in-me demons creeping up on him as the game wore on.

When his number was called again and again — when Griffin looked at him in the huddle during the final, clock-killing drive and said, “Go take us home,” when he ran the ball down the Giants’ gullet three straight times to end it — Morris wasn’t pumping his chest out to show the world he had done it. No, he was quietly saying thanks to the people who decided he was still the best person on the team to carry the football.

“It means a lot,” Morris said. “I came from nowhere, out of nothing. Just to earn their trust, earn their respect enough for them to one, put me in as a starter, and two, even after I make a mistake, to leave me in there and put the game in my hands, you know, that was huge. I can’t thank them enough.”

Morris said they used to call him, “A-Train” at Florida Atlantic for his physical running style, among other nicknames. “I got so many. Brucey. Alphanator. Chicken Alfredo. Alfredo. Alfie. I forgot half of them.”

He should come up with something that’s phonetically easy for fans to chant through the corridors of FedEx Field after the game, the way they chant “RGIII! RGIII!” after the most gratifying win of a season that now has real possibility — because Morris is becoming that special in the backfield, that crucial to their success.

As for the diva demeanor — the bling, a $100,000 sports car or two and the third-person rants — eh, maybe it can wait. Maybe the new fixture at running back in Washington can just be the refreshing mix of humility and hungry sixth-round rookie the Redskins desperately needed.

“I’m just thankful I got drafted,” Morris said, going on 1 a.m. Tuesday morning. “Because I could have gone undrafted. We were 1-11 at Florida Atlantic. I came from a smaller school, too. I had a lot of stuff against me. Be honest, I wasn’t supposed to get drafted. That’s what the experts said.”
Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/alfred-morris-runs-the-ball-not-his-mouth-for-the-washington-redskins/2012/12/04/6110d6f6-3e30-11e2-ae43-cf491b837f7b_story.html

As a Redskins fan, I swear there are times I want to pinch myself and ask "Is this real?"

Looks to be that way.

Wow.

Hail. :)
 

Jimbo

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The Alphanator is kinda catchy although I prefer "Al Mo". It's nice to have "Double Diamonds".
 

burgold

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The funny thing is that I thought we already struck it rich with Helu and Royster. Imagine if they (and Hightower) had been healthy through training camp. Morris might not have really gotten the opportunity to emerge.
 

Dead Money

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Impossible not to like this kid. The defense should chip in and get him a new ride though.
 

redskins76

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ATM alfred " touchdown '' morris ....love having this guy , real down to earth guy hope he never changes ,and griff nuff said !
 

tshile

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we do need something we can chant. dude is awesome. i really like the new characters this team has. not all of shanahan's additions have been hits, but morris certainly is.
 

Lanky Livingston

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I kind of like 'ATM', lol. Alphanator is good also.

Whatever it is, it can't be "FroMo," the horrible nickname BurgundyBlog was trying to push.
 

Lanky Livingston

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Also, an excellent thread - I voted to blog it!
 

Henry

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Personally, I like 'Alfredo'.

One of my friends has already bypassed the Griffin jersey for a Morris one. Not a knock on Griffin, but I might just do the same thing.
 

Lanky Livingston

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Personally, I like 'Alfredo'.

One of my friends has already bypassed the Griffin jersey for a Morris one. Not a knock on Griffin, but I might just do the same thing.
I'm definitely getting a Morris jersey first, but that's mostly because he's an FAU Owl.

Also, Alfredo makes me think he'll betray the family and go to the Cowboys when his contract is up, so let's not call him that! lol
 

tshile

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good lord am I an idiot. I asked a question then read the last 4 posts and my question was already being answered.

so i'm editing my post to rephrase my question...

those of you interested in buying a morris jersey, do you not have any reservations that he might just be another shanahan running back? that maybe he's not here to stay, so to speak?

i'm not saying he is. but if I was buying a jersey i'd have a hard time picking a morris one simply because of shanahan's history.
 

Lanky Livingston

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those of you interested in buying a morris jersey, do you not have any reservations that he might just be another shanahan running back? that maybe he's not here to stay, so to speak?

i'm not saying he is. but if I was buying a jersey i'd have a hard time picking a morris one simply because of shanahan's history.

For me, its also about school pride. First FAU Football player to really shine in the NFL, regardless if its due to the system or not. Shanahan can't plug just any RB into his system to get 1,000 yards, they still have to have quickness, vision, and know how to pass-protect. And Morris' ability after the first hit is unquestioned - dude is a tank!

So, I would buy a Morris jersey, and not really worry about whether or not he'll just be the next in a long-line of unknown backs - because its obvious to me that barring injury, he'll be around for a long time.
 

tshile

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Fair enough. And I'd add his character to the list of reasons why he's a good jersey to have.

It's just an expensive investment.

In all honesty I refuse to draft shanahan running backs in fantasy football. Buy a jersey? He'd have to prove he's here to stay.

I hope he's here to stay, like you say. But Shanahan's history is hard to ignore. Hopefully this is a Terrell Davis type of situation and him and Griffin will go down in history together :)
 

Jugband McGillicuddy

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Also, an excellent thread - I voted to blog it!
I did too. I thought it only took 2 votes, but I guess not. Hmm.

Put me down for "Almo." In my head, I hear the chant being like opposing teams used to do to Darryl Strawberry. "Alllll-Moooo....Alllll-Moooo..." Course "Al-fred Mo-rris" *clap-clap clap clap clap* works just as well.

This is an outstanding thread and OP, serv. When I saw the thread title, I knew exactly what it was going to be about. And I wasn't disappointed. Your thoughts are spot on, and Wise's supporting column is stellar.

I'm going to try not to get too flowery with what I personally think about Morris, but as giddy as I am about this kid, I don't expect to succeed.

When I think about Morris, the word that comes to mind is "forward." That's where this young man is ALWAYS going; whether on the field or off. On, he NEVER gets knocked backwards. Even when he's stuffed, he manages to fall forward, either turning a loss into no gain, or stretching a short gain a little more. Off, he makes the most of every opportunity, moving forward in his life and his career.

To me, he is the consumate Redskin. I love those guys throughout our history who have simply shut up, gone out and done their job, and been satisfied with doing it well. I love the guys that don't need the glory and adulation, but without whom we wouldn't be what we are. He reminds me of Art Monk and Monte Coleman in that regard.

He's an extremely intelligent and grounded young man. He knows the NFL life is finite. He's not out blowing money and partying like a rockstar. He's practical. Maybe almost too practical. "Bentley" is 13 years older than MY car...and hell, IT is 8 years old!

It seems to me that he's motivated a bit by fear, in a healthy and productive way -- as if his story is so impractical, so IMPOSSIBLE that he expects it to be taken away tomorrow. I think he channels that fear, and uses it as a motivator.

I'm at least as proud to have Alfred Morris on this team as I am RG3. Griffin is certainly more dynamic, but Morris is just as much the total package on and off the field. It's a GREAT time to be a Skins fan!!!!!
 

servumtuum

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Thanks for the compliments guys.

Jug, Monk is my all-time favorite Redskin-partly for the reasons you gave and partly because he kept up his high level of play for such a long time-kind of like London Fletcher who has been my fav Redskin for a while now. Go do your job, do it at an astonishingly high level and keep on till people wonder "How can he still do that at his age?"-London is one of only 14 players with over 100 tackles so far this season, 37 years old, and hobbled too? Damn.

I look at Griff and "Almo" and think of how well the Skins are doing now, and think of Rak and Carriker coming back next season and (hopefully) filling a few holes that need filling and think-o.k. NFL "We're back."-and we're gonna be a hot mess for anybody to play for a good while too.

Yup, a good time to be a Redskins fan. :)
 

DieselPwr44

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Almo sounds too much like Alpo to me...lol

RG3= Batman

Alfred= well..he IS Alfred...Me and my kids holler "The Butler did it!" when he scores or rips off a big run...lol...
 

Docsandy

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Was watching some sound bytes on ESPN I think and some of them were from the Giants after monday's game and absolutely none of them are looking forward to having to face RGIII/Morris twice a year for years to come. And I really don't believe they were talking out of the side of their mouth... while RGIII is getting the acolades... both of them have gained respect amongst our NFC east foes.

While I'm glad RGIII is up for rookie of the week again.. I think Morris should be there, either as well or in lieu of. Absolutely nothing against RGIII. he was efficient... and as he said about the fumble/recovery that turned into a TD for us, he joked that was planned. If you look at in slo mo you almost believe him the way the ball just lands in our player's hands.

Alfred though monday night.. the Giants KNEW he was coming on that 3rd and 3 at the end. We knew it. Redskins knew it. Giants knew it.. and he still was not to be stopped. Reminds me of so may highlights of Riggo while he's running carrying 1-2 defenders on his back.

I am old enough to remember the Gibbs I era.. I even went to Superbowl XVII (and XVIII but I won't go there). But the past however many years has been difficult. I've never not watched them, never even THOUGHT about rooting for another team. But if nothing else, RGIII and Morris has brought the excitement/spark back into watching Redskins Football. And it's FUN.
 

Jugband McGillicuddy

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Well said, Doc.

Along those lines, I have to wonder if this isn't the "payoff" for all those years of futility. I mean, doesn't it stand to reason that we're more excited than Colts fans? They went from the best quarterback of this era, to ONE of the best (potentially) of the next. WE went from "What's a franchise quarterback?" to "holy (insert your exclamatory expletive of choice here.)"

Seriously though, it's something I've thought of often. I absolutely believe I have a far greater appreciation for what we're seeing now than I would have without the years of struggling.
 

tshile

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I think we're more excited than colts fans because they just finished up a pretty long run with a guy many consider to be the best to ever play QB in the NFL - there are obviously arguments against that, but many do consider him to be the best.

They've also won a superbowl and been to another in the last decade.

We don't quite fit that description, to say the least. We're used to ****upitry here and they're used to success.

In fact, I don't think it's 'less' excitement, I think it's just a different kind. But I don't live there, I'm not a fan of their team, so I'm purely speculating.
 

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