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Brian Baldinger: It’s a pretty good bet that Alfred Morris will start against the Vikings

Aug 28, 2018 at 7:23 AM

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NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger's Twitter feed is always a fun source for breakdowns of players. On Sunday morning, he discussed new San Francisco 49ers running back Alfred Morris, who was the starting running back against the Indianapolis Colts this past weekend.

Baldinger was impressed with Morris. So impressed, in fact, that he made a rather bold statement about the running back.

"It's a pretty good bet that on September 9, this man, Alfred Morris, will be the starting tailback for the San Francisco 49ers," Baldinger said during his analysis.

Either Baldinger believes running back Jerick McKinnon, who was signed as a free agent in March, will not be ready for Week 1 or he simply believes Morris is the better of the two players. It's hard to imagine the 49ers starting Morris, who joined the team on August 14, over a healthy McKinnon.

McKinnon, along with backup running back Matt Breida, only played in the 49ers' exhibition opener against the Dallas Cowboys. Breida suffered a separated shoulder in the game while McKinnon sustained a calf injury three days later during practice.

Morris was impressive in his 49ers debut. He rushed for 84 yards on 17 carries against the Colts defense in just over a half of play. Morris likely earned a spot on the 53-man roster with his performance on Saturday.

"His skill set is that Alf always gets a little bit more than you block him for," head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Sunday. "I like that in all of our runners, but I do think he brings a little bit different dimensions to it with his size, his weight, he can carry people a little bit farther when they are unblocked, and he gets a lot of explosive runs. He doesn't always score the touchdown or get the long one, but he's a very efficient runner, and I think that's why he's had a lot of success in this league."

Morris started his NFL career with the Washington Redskins in 2012. He spent his first two seasons with Shanahan as his offensive coordinator.

"Alfred Morris, just connect the dots," Baldinger continued. "Redskins, Shanahan, Redskins rushing record (1,613 yards during his rookie season), a big workload [on Saturday]. September 9, see you at U.S. Bank Stadium, Alfred Morris."
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