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Cooley and Portis say run game is coming


(By John McDonnell - TWP)


The transcription robots at WaPo headquarters are working overtime this week, bringing you reassurances from just about every member of the Redskins' offense that yes, they're going to start running the ball successfully soon, despite ranking last in the NFL in rushing offense.

Maybe you already read Donovan McNabb's brave words on ESPN 980 that the players "know what type of effective running team we can be." Clinton Portis and Chris Cooley, in their own appearances on 106.7 The Fan, were even more effusive.

"We're a team that can run the ball," Cooley said to LaVar and Dukes Monday night. "No doubt about it. Clinton Portis is running as hard as I've ever seen him. We have guys up front that can block. As the scheme continues to grow and come together, we'll block 'em up front.

"I mean, we'll start to run the football. There's not a question here. And I think a lot of people are concerned about what we did running the ball. We're gonna address it, clearly, we're gonna go to practice this week, it's gonna be an emphasis. But we're a team that can run the ball. I have no question in my mind that we can come out and run the ball."

Portis, do you have any question in your mind?

"I'm not worried about it working," he said on the Mike Wise Show, currently not featuring Mike Wise. "I've been in this system before, and I know it's capable of working....I know my time will come. Being the running back in this system, I think I will put it on my shoulders to carry this team and know that we've got to get the running game going. But like I said, as long as we find a way to win games, I don't think anybody's worried about how we done it, whether it was defense, running or passing the ball."

Indeed, he said that multiple times.

"I think it's just a matter of time," Portis said. "I don't think there's any [concern] inside our organization about the running game, about not putting up running stats right now. I think it's more wins and losses. If we would have come away with a win and Donovan threw for those 400 yards, everybody would have been excited about the passing game, but being that we lost, it's you've got to find something to blame it on.

"So I guess people choose to pick out that we haven't had a running game, which we really haven't tried to establish running game yet."

Indeed, Cooley -- giving the type of detail that would make Mike Shanahan cough up his spleen -- explained that the Redskins called a bunch of "Can Pass" schemes, which can develop into a run or a pass play defending on the defensive alignment. With the looks Houston was giving them, the Redskins went pass, which Cooley said led to several of his catches. He also said there were individual breakdowns on running plays.

"A lot of calls were missed," Cooley said. "Watching film, it makes guys sick, because we're out the gate on a lot of runs where you have one missed assignment. Which is a huge problem, especially at the line of scrimmage."

Portis also declined a chance to demand or even request more touches, saying he felt a part of the offense the entire day on Sunday.

"It's not gonna be a complaint as far as I'm not getting the ball because I think Donovan had a great game," he said. "We moved the ball up and down the field and we spread the ball around....I think we threw the ball around and got it to open people, but we missed out on some opportunities. And of curse everybody would want to touch the ball more, including myself, and once we get some consistency and come up with the idea that we're gonna make people stop the run, I think we'll be all right."

By Dan Steinberg  | September 21, 2010; 2:04 PM ET
Categories:  Media, Redskins  
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