Morrison ready to lead

During his collegiate career, Oakland Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison kept a jersey of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis in his closet. It was that staple of excellence for which he dreamed – and as a rookie, elevating his game became a reality.

"If you're going to model your game after anybody, you have to model it after him," Morrison readily admitted.

And in his rookie campaign, Kirk Morrison collected 116 tackles, including 91 solo stops – leading the team on both fronts. He also added two fumble recoveries and proved, despite his third round draft status, that production can find its way on the field.

His natural charisma has allowed him to assume a leadership role with the team at just 24, with one full year under his belt.

As the team begins to reassemble talent at marquee positions, Morrison is eager to be part of the team that rejuvenates Oakland into a winning program.

"I'll do whatever," he said. "If they want me to play every single special team, play defense, even if they need me to play some offense. It sounds funny, but I'm gonna do whatever it takes for this team to win and make the next step."

The one area that Morrison, along with the rest of the defense, hopes to improve upon is creating turnovers. Morrison dropped an easy interception in a game against Denver last season and even the fumble he forced was deemed to be a non-fumble during an official review.

Morrison feels he can be a guiding light to the rest of the defense because of the way he dissects opponents' film and he envisions that rubbing off on his teammates.

"I do a lot of film preparation," Morrison explained. "I watch it at home. Sometimes I can just pop a tape in and watch my opponent for the week. I think that when you watch your opponent so many times, you get to a comfort zone. When you're in the game, you've seen that play a hundred times already, and you know how it's going to work."

The knock on Morrison coming out had been he is too small and not fast enough but he has proven to be instinctive and a sure tackler for the Raiders. But he works hard at his trade, doesn't take unnecessary steps and is relentless in his pursuit.

His expectations are the rest of the defense will follow suit with his successful run as a rookie.


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