Blaming Clinton Portis
"I think Mr. Snyder, with the pressure that's on him with the organization, probably going to have to make changes," Clinton Portis told reporters this week. "For everything that [goes] on, I'm to blame, so why wouldn't I be the change?"
I'm not sure that people have actually held Clinton Portis to blame for everything that goes on, but heck, someone might as well start. So I'll take one for the team and blame Portis for everything.
Okay, okay, okay, I'm not actually blaming Portis for everything. This is all I'm doing; pointing out that the much-discussed post-Sherm-Lewis offensive improvement actually took place not after Sherm Lewis was hired, but after Portis was injured near the end of the first quarter of the Falcons game. We discussed this very issue during this week's Redskins Insider podcast, but I thought I'd pull the numbers just for kicks.
For the first six games of the season, the Redskins operated with their previous playcalling arrangement, and with Portis as their primary running back. We'll call that Zorn-Portis.
For the first Eagles game, and the first 12 minutes of the Falcons game, the Redskins operated with some sort of input from Sherm Lewis, and with Portis as their primary running back. We'll call that Lewis-Portis.
And for the final 48 minutes of the Falcons game, and the following five games, the Redskins have operated with some sort of input from Sherm Lewis, and without Portis. We'll call that Post-Portis. And here we go.
Sure, there are other factors at play. The Saints game went into overtime, providing extra minutes. Levi Jones came aboard. Offensive linemen mostly stopped getting hurt. And Jason Campbell said the team changed its offensive approach.
"We simplified our run game," Campbell recently said on the Redskins Radio Network, in explaining the offensive turnaround. "We simplified our run game, we're just gonna be a north-and-south, straight downhill [team], and running backs just see the hole and hit it. As far as the passing game, we changed our mindset. We're more attacking now [rather] than just work the ball, work the ball, try to score. We're trying to go for the home run on first down sometimes; even third and short we're still throwing the ball down the field. I think that's the biggest difference, is we're opening up the passing game and our run game is simplified."
I have no doubt all of that is true. But for a straight correlation between personnel and offensive stats, I'm not sure anything works better than the presence or absence of Portis.
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