Zorn on Portis and Alexander
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 Redskins.com 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.
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