While everyone debates whether Justin Forsett deserves a spot on the roster, I’ve moved well beyond that. I look at a kid who is our toughest YAC (yards after contact) runner, among the quickest to the edge, a plus blocker and decent receiver. Mo Morris is the likely starter because of his time in the system and his ability to catch the ball, but I don’t have to deal with pesky things like loyalty.
Morris is a solid contributor, but there is no way anyone can convince me he is an above average starting NFL back. He can’t break tackles, he is a willing but limited blocker, and has a durability issues. He also has been known to put the ball on the turf from time to time.
Answer me this, would you rather have Forsett or Morris on 3rd and G from the 2?
Let’s look at our options:
Julius Jones He’s the only player on the roster with a 1000 yard season on his resume. Coaches appreciate established players. Unless you have established that you are a good-to-great starter, I don’t much care about a 1000 yard season. Jones has shown he can be a good blocker and decent runner. He has not shown speed to the corners, or ability to break tackles. He also has a history of fumbling. I see literally nothing he adds to the team that Mo Morris doesn’t. Starter? Over my dead body
Mo Morris Best receiver of the bunch. Knows the system inside and out. Teammates trust him. Average blocker. Can turn the corner and bust a move now and again. Not a workhorse, and not a guy that will break tackles (despite high effort). I think he is a solid, but not great, backup RB. Starter? Likely, but would not be my choice.
TJ Duckett No speed. Pushes people forward more than breaks tackles. Not a receiver. Good blocker. Can be a useful back in a pro set paired with a speedy and dangerous halfback. A poor man’s Leonard Weaver. Starter? Uh….no (and should not make the roster)
Leonard Weaver Good straight line runner. Very limited ability to reach the corner. Good-to-great blocker. Can break tackles, but lost some confidence using his stiff-arm (The Baptism) last year due to fumbling problems. Great receiver within the first 15 yards. Could be interesting if paired with Owen Schmidt at FB. Prototypical pro set back that can block, catch and run. Starter? We’re probably best with him starting at FB
Justin Forsett Possibly the strongest player at the position, benching over 500 lbs. Speedy, but not really a home run threat. Runs hard each play. Consistently breaks the first tackle. Does not get arm-tackled. Can reach the corner or run inside. Can convert on short yardage downs. Unproven receiver, but has shown fine hands thus far. Above average blocker. Young. Starter? Yes
Don’t forget that the best running backs in the league tend to establish themselves in the first season. It’s not a position that requires years of learning to have an impact. Forsett gives us the best combination of attributes, and that’s what a starter should do. Specialists should come off the bench for special situations. That’s how they become specialists.
I am not going to cry if Morris starts, but Forsett gives us more than Duckett or Jones without question. And yes, I can say that after watching just two pre-season games.