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Zorn on Portis and Alexander

(By Preston Keres - TWP)

Tonight's news that Shaun Alexander is coming to town immediately conjured up thoughts of Jim Zorn's insta-analysis of Clinton Portis just after he was hired. This quote was from a Zorn interview with from last February, and it's most notable for the name that's missing:

To watch Clinton Portis and the strain for the extra yard, it can fire you right up. That is what a running back is made for in this game. Being smart. I think he has excellent vision and he seems to be disciplined moving in the hole. He is probably the idea of an every-down back. We did not do that in Seattle. We did not have that every-down back in Seattle. We had to piece and put and kind of makeshift situations with plays. Clinton Portis is the kind of guy that you can have in and pass protect, can have in and run the ball. We can be more elusive in what we want to do with him.

Sports By Brooks called this "a direct hit" on Alexander, Shutdown Corner called it "a little shot" at Alexander, and FanHouse said it "sounds like he won't miss Shaun Alexander." To my ears, it sounds like typical Zorn honesty rather than some sinister plot to throw Alexander--who was only a former MVP while with Zorn and Seattle--under the bus Hoorayride. But still, to be talking about what "we did not have" in Seattle just a few weeks after leaving an NFL rushing champ behind was notable, especially compared with what Zorn said about Portis this very afternoon:

"The thing that I'm very excited about--I don't know if it's a surprise--but he's a violent player. And he's running violent with the ball, and he's blocking violently. When you watch him, if he knows that he's got you and you're coming in, you're going to have a little dogfight right ahead of you, and it's gonna happen real fast. He doesn't shy away at all. And I think that's the thing that's impressive to me, is that he's kind of a complete back. He's smart, he's into the game, he can make adjustments. So he's quite a guy, he really is."

(Stump Mitchell on Alexander, from last November: "Shaun is going to give you a little more creativity. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, and you have to take the bitter with the sweet.")

(Alexander summing up Stump in two words, from January 2006: "Underrated coach."

"The running backs here could all call audibles," Alexander said. "I can do it. Mack can do it. Leonard (Weaver) can do it. It's all because of Stump. We know what everybody else is doing.")

Either way, with both Jason Taylor and Shaun Alexander on board, these Skins would be a total lock to win the 2004 Super Bowl.

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 13, 2008; 10:31 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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If he's in shape I'd give him a look, it's not like they'd have to keep him. When he had his MVP season he was a joy to watch, but that had everything to do an incredible o-line. If he's fit wouldn't mind seeing what he could do for the Skins.
Clinton Portis can't do it all, and if he doesn't get some immediate help he'll be worn out before we know it.

Posted by: dadryan | October 13, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

"Either way, with both Jason Taylor and Shaun Alexander on board, these Skins would be a total lock to win the 2004 Super Bowl."

That has to be one of the funniest lines I have ever read. This is why I read the bog.

Posted by: Go Skins Go | October 13, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Alexander won the MVP because of his O-Line, look what happened when a couple of them went to Minnesota.... Hes soft, probably the polar opposite of a "violent player"

Posted by: CPoAllDay | October 14, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

so was that "he's really a violent player" about Portis or Alexander? cuz you said "..especially compared with what Zorn said about Portis this very afternoon:"

If its about portis i don't see what's so contradictory.

Posted by: question | October 14, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Alexander is far from soft. I do nto knwo many Rb who would even try to play with a broken foot liek he did in 06. Let alone a brkoen foot, broken wrist, bruised ribs, twisted knee and ankle. And the n have to do it behind an aweful o-line like the Hawks had, The o-line was ranked 30th in run blocking. Alexander has plenty left adn will help the Redskins allot. It ws not the o-line that made Alexander an MVP. Lets remember form 01-05 no back had more rushign yards and tds than Alexander durign tha time his o-lien had an avg run blockignranking of 15th. That means 14 other bakcs had better o-lines but non could match hic production. If he is healthy he will help the redskins. The only thign that hurt him over the last 2 years was helth and allot of those injuries were due to the poor blocking of th eo-line remember in 06 alexander, Hasselbeck, Morris, Strong, adn weaver the entire backfield missed over 20 games due to injury. In 07 both Alexander adn Morris and weaver all missed games due to injury. So it was not just Alexander the difference there was Alexander tried to play adn help the team while MOrris, Hass, did not. LIke I said if he is healthy Alexander will help the Skins.

Posted by: dadc43 | October 14, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Dan -

Did you see Hank Williams, Jr., was sporting a Cornelius Griffin jersey at a McCain-Palin rally yesterday? We need Cornelius' comment on this. Is he a McCain-Palin supporter? If not, is he going to demand that his jersey not be worn on stage at their rallies (ala various music acts)? This is the kind of information we depend upon you to collect.

Posted by: Kronen | October 14, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

@dadc43: I agree. A healthy Alexander is far more interesting to me than Jason Taylor that's for sure...I'm crossing my fingers. Maybe nothing will come of it, but who knows?
Seahawks are my #2 team these days, trying to stay *Seahawks* was just not an option for me when I moved to the DC area. That wouldn't be as bad as being a Cowboys fan, just tiresome.
Gotta admit that a positive endorsement from a Pacific Northwest fan is awfully different than the norm in this neck of the woods...

Posted by: dadryan | October 14, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Stump Mitchell = Worst head coach in Morgan State history.

Posted by: | October 14, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Look toward the long term end of this. Upon Betts return, the skins have a situation similar to what the giants have, a three headed monster. Give Portis his 20-25 touches. Let him set the tone, but keep him fresh by subbing in alexander & betts. When we have the lead in the fourth quarter, think how we will be able to pound the ball down the field with two fresh RB's and Portis safely on the sideline, feet up, sipping gatorade!

Posted by: nuttyskinsfan | October 15, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

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