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Alfred Morris Has Shades Of Walter Payton

Posted Jun 5, 2013

Redskins RB Alfred Morris played a pivotal role to the team success with his record-breaking rookie season. Heading into Year 2, he is working on the little things to be more like Walter Payton.

Alfred Morris had a record-setting rookie season, piling up 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground, setting a new standard of excellence for running backs in Washington.

Despite the instantaneous success, Morris has visions of long-term greatness that could one day land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

When asked by NFL.com’s Dave Dameshek about what he is doing to prepare for next year, Morris said it was the little things necessary to improve.

“Coming off a good season like you had last year, you set the bar pretty high, you have to get better,” he said. “I think a lot of times the little things get overlooked, so I’m more focusing now on just the little things.

“It’s the little things that hindered me from doing [even better] so I’ve just been working on that. Just fine-tuning my game and being more patient in the run game.”

In an effort to take his game to the next level, Morris turned to new versions of old training techniques that have helped players for years.

“More so working on my explosiveness…a lot is a lot of [resistance] band work, having resistance stuff strapped to me. Just to help my game and it’s definitely helping me out there in OTAs.”

Morris showed a good mix of strength and endurance last season, saving his greatest performance for Week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys with the NFC East Championship at stake.

While most rookies have long since faded under the grind of the long season, Morris lowered his shoulders and rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns on just 33 carries.

With quarterback Robert Griffin III nursing his sore knee, the Redskins leaned on Morris that day, a responsibility he was proud to accept.

“I play with heart, I leave it all on the field because any play could be my last play, I never know,” he told Dameshek. “I don’t have any regrets so I go out there and leave it all out there, each and every game, each and every snap I’m able to be in there.”

With that attitude, Morris embraces whatever physical load the Redskins need him to carry. Asked which historical running back Morris compares himself to, Alfred replied: “Walter Payton, ‘Sweetness.’

“Just the way he ran. [Payton] ran as if every play was his last and he gave it his all each and every play. That’s pretty much what I go out and do.”

Alfred said that he tailors his style after Payton, who relished contact and embraced the opportunity to inflict his will at the point of contact.

“He definitely didn’t shy away from contact then. He had the speed to run away from guys, but man he would take it to them,” Morris said. “I call it ‘demanding my respect,’ the type of way I run. I’m not flashy, but I will lower my shoulder on guys. I demand my respect.”

Ultimately, Morris earned his respect last season, as fellow players named him the No. 64 best player on the NFL Network’s “The Top 100 Players of 2013.”

With 96 days to go before the Week 1 contest vs. Philadelphia, Morris said he feels good and is eager to get back on the gridiron.

“I feel good running and I look better the coaches tell me,” he said. “So it’s all going good.”

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