After sitting through three days of Mini Camp one of the players that caught my eye was wide receiver Josh Morgan. It wasn’t so much of a spectacular play or blazing speed, it just seemed he was always around the ball getting targeted a lot and catching everything thrown his way. His build also caught my eye – he’s put together well, he’s thick. Morgan almost looks like a running back out there.
I understand that it’s very early on and they were running around in shorts but he did get my attention so I decided to dig a little deeper and look at some game film on him, but first lets take a look at a little history on him.
Morgan was the 174th overall player taken by San Francisco in the 2008 draft, by the time 2009 rolled around Morgan had locked down the #2 receiver spot opposite Micheal Crabtree (his rookie year) Morgan really started to put it together in 2010 catching 44 balls for 698 yards for a 15.9 yard average.
In 2011 he started out solid but during the 5th game of that season he suffered a broken bone in his lower right leg landing him on injured reserve – he never played another down for the 49ers.
In 2012 Morgan signed a five year deal with the Washington Redskins with a voidable clause after year two, which the Redskins exercised releasing him after a below par 2013 campaign.
In 2014 Morgan signed a one year deal with the Chicago Bears which turned into a disaster becoming his worst year as a pro. To be fair, that whole Chicago team was a disaster.
And now Morgan is with the Saints, so lets dig a little deeper.
This is from the 4th game of the 2011 season against the Philadelphia Eagles. A really simple play here that goes 30 yards for a touchdown. The Eagles blitz strong safety Jarrad Page and Alex Smith makes them pay hitting Morgan on a short slant route. Morgan does the rest using his speed to split the zone as seen in the screen shots below.
Just a year earlier Morgan was starting to show what he was capable of. In this game against the Rams Morgan flashes some speed on a go route getting behind CB Bradley Fletcher, when SS Craig Dahl was late coming over he was off to the races with a 65 yard catch and run – he would be tripped up at the five coming up just short at the one yard line as seen in the shots below.
I really hate to bring these bad memories up but remember the historically bad Steve Spagnuolo defense of 2012? Well it started when the Washington Redskins with their brand new phenom QB Robert Griffin (I know Hindsight is 20/20) came to town for the season opener.
At the start of the 3rd quarter Patrick Robinson has one on one press coverage on Josh Morgan. It’s not that the coverage is horrible (it’s not) but Morgan takes one small outside stutter step and has the inside leverage on the play. It’s simply pitch and catch after that for a 21 yard gain as seen in the screen shots below.
Even though Morgan had down year in 2014 the Bears did use him correctly in at least one play against – you guessed it, the New Orleans Saints.
On this play the Bears run a reverse with a fake inside hand off to Matt Forte. The Bears TE Donte Rosario is going to pull with Josh Morgan to lead the way, the Saints defense collapses down on the fake. Saints FS Pierre Warren reads the reverse and the Bears WR Alshon Jeffery is supposed to block him out on the play but delivers a weak block.
If Jeffery would have done his job, Morgan would have scored on the play, instead Warren fights through the traffic and absolutely clocks Morgan before he could get into the end zone – Morgan gained 21 yards on the play as seen below.
From looking at tape of Josh Morgan I came away with one word to describe what I watched – inconsistent. You can see flashes of the potential but then he disappears. It makes me wonder what would have been if he didn’t break his leg back in 2011.
I’m also curious as to how he would fare under Drew Brees who spreads the ball around probably better than any quarterback in the NFL. If you look at his QB’s in his time in the NFL (Smith, Cutler and Griffin) it’s not the best group but still with his talent his numbers should have been better.
I would say a change of scenery would do him good but this is his fourth team, I’m thinking a sense of urgency might light a fire under him because his chances are running out. Morgan has all the physical tools to excel with the Saints, but will he? Only time will tell.