Stock thrilled with Morton's arrival

Mike Stock suffered with nearly every return last season, especially on punts. He could have lived with Ladell Betts running back kicks again, but a punt returner had to be found.

Stock now has his man in Chad Morton, who hasn't put up big numbers on punt returns but is more dependable than anyone Washington had at the end of last season. He averaged 8.7 yards on 13 returns in 2001 and 9.3 on 30 returns in 2000. Morton played in 2000 for New Orleans, which traded him for a fifth-round pick after that season. Morton had a combined 1,656 yards for the Saints.

Here's Stock's thoughts on his newest player.

''This will make the other 10 guys on that unit work even harder. They have a returner they can trust. And fans won't go to the bathroom on fourth down anymore. They'll want to stay in their seats and watch what happens. That's what's exciting.

''This will also help our field position. Our starting field position last year was dismal. There were reasons for that other than the return game. But after Jacquez Green's run against the Eagles it was like, 'Holy Cow, what else can happen.'

''Chad gives us stability and credibility. People will have to honor him when he's deep. People don't realize how he can make a big difference in the mental approach of others. Just the presence of this kid can pick everyone up and a shot of adrenaline goes throughout the team.

''There will also be 11 guys on the othe team sweating bullets every time he touches the ball on kickoffs. They'll have to be careful and not kick it out of bounds. We'll get a few of those as well.

''He's a north-south runner on returns and he's built like a dynamo. He has good leverage and is a short, stocky guy. A good second-effort runner. I'm really excited.

''The scouts and coaches were having a defensive meeting about the draft, looking at film and going over medical reports when Dan Snyder came in and made the announcement. They were jumping for joy.''




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