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Portis seems likely to remain top running back

It seems clear that Clinton Portis will retain his position as the Redskins' top back to open the season.

Although Coach Mike Shanahan insists the competition at running back, as well as most positions, still is open with two preseason games remaining, it would be extremely surprising if Portis is not the starter in the regular-season opener Sept. 12 against the NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field.

Portis had another effective, albeit brief, performance during Saturday night's 23-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at FedEx. Working primarily as the Redskins' third-down back, Portis gained 14 yards on two rushes and had a five-yard reception.

Meanwhile, Larry Johnson, presumably Portis's chief competitor for the first-team job, had a poor outing in his "showcase" game. The starter Saturday in the back rotation (Portis started the preseason opener against Buffalo), Johnson gained only four yards on eight rushes and was ineffective as a receiver out of the backfield and as a blocker on passing plays.

More than any preseason statistics, however, Portis's overall approach (he still is among the game's best backs in blitz pick-ups) throughout the offseason, training camp and the preseason has impressed coaches and players, many team sources said. I have to admit, I was skeptical in the offseason when people in the organization told us Portis has changed. But then we learned that Portis completely bought into Coach Mike Shanahan's new program, had slimmed down to 217 pounds after playing at more than 230 in 2009 and was eager to prove he's still a Pro Bowl-caliber back.

Obviously, things won't officially be settled until Shanahan announces a starter at running back for Week 1. Could Johnson somehow nudge Portis aside? Could Willie Parker emerge as a surprise starter? Sure. Anything is possible.

Many who work at Redskins Park, however, would be stunned if Shanahan made a move toward anyone other than Portis. They believe Portis has earned the right to keep his job. We do, too.

By Jason Reid  |  August 22, 2010; 12:52 PM ET
Categories:  Clinton Portis  
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Larry Johnson is done.

Other then a dropped pass, Portis looked good the few times he was in there.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | August 22, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

IMO the RB with the best hands is K Williams. He's also probably the one who needs the most work at picking up blitzers. The coaches like CP as their 3rd down back because it looks like Kyle likes to push the ball down field and CPs blocking is superb. However, as a receiver he's only average at best.

Posted by: TWISI | August 22, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Johnson is absolutely done, in the starting running back competition, if he can't block. No matter what, Portis can run the ball well, help stop the rush, and find holes when they are scarce. Johnson may not even make the team.

Posted by: monkeymayonaise | August 22, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Portis's dropped pass was even more well executed than Johnson's. CP's pass was behind him, and he had to reach backward for it, Johnson was hit in the chest.

Posted by: alex35332 | August 22, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

On the whole Albert Vs Mike thing, serious question. Has 92 ever been checked for bipolar disorder?

Posted by: alex35332 | August 22, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I guess today we could call him Albarf Headsquirt, but ur right beepbeep we are running out of innovative names for AH.

Posted by: monkeymayonaise | August 22, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

LJ should be shown the door with the first cuts. Portis and Torrain will be the primary ball carriers this year.

Posted by: coparker5 | August 22, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

if Torain or Williams can learn the blitz pickups bye bye to LJ

Posted by: noonefromtampa | August 22, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

On the whole Albert Vs Mike thing, serious question. Has 92 ever been checked for bipolar disorder?

Posted by: alex35332 | August 22, 2010 1:19 PM |

It seems to me that something ain't right between the ears here. That's why I don't think embarrassing the guy and constantly poking him with a sharp stick is going to get him to buy in.

I would rather see them put aside their differences and start working towards some common achievable goals as a way to build a functioning relationship that will benefit the whole team - and get Tony Romo killed.

That would really show me something...

Posted by: edvar | August 22, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The defensive leaders of this team need to take Hayney out behind the woodshed.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 22, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

The defensive leaders of this team need to take Hayney out behind the woodshed.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 22, 2010 1:33 PM

Yeah...that'll work. Nice one.

Posted by: edvar | August 22, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse


Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Some of these are harmful to the kidney and can result in kidney damage.

When muscle is damaged, a protein pigment called myoglobin is released into the bloodstream and filtered out of the body by the kidneys. Myoglobin breaks down into potentially harmful compounds.

Exertion and hot conditions exacerbate the problem, but in most mild cases people recover in a week or two. It is treated with aggressive hydration to dilute the urine and flush the myoglobin from the kidneys.

Posted by: TWISI | August 22, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Having seen how truly horrible Larry Johnson was last night, I really wonder if he and Willie Parker weren't brought in solely to motivate Portis. Sure the Redskins will pay LJ and Parker a few million dollars but that just might be money well spent if it motivates the multi-million dollar investment that is Portis.

Posted by: tundey | August 22, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

The way looks so far it could be Portis, Williams and Torain lol...

Posted by: mac2j | August 22, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I've been critical of Clinton Portis at times in the past, but I can tell you one thing;

He will have a big game in Week 1. He night run for 150 (but you never know) but I could see him having 80 of the hard yards and a couple of scores.

He's able to lose the extra bulk because he know's Shanny's system won't require him to batter his way through the middle, like Gibbs 2.0 required him to.

Clinton's going to go off on D*ll*s - book it.

Posted by: stevebeagrie | August 22, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"We do, too."

Who is this "we", pale face? And why do we care what "we" think? Just the facts, ma'am.

Posted by: WorstSeat | August 22, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

My personal favorite is Willie Parker. He is a true Cowboys fan like I am.

Posted by: AaronDavistheLizardKing | August 22, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

I do think Alis bipolar. Look at actions. Looking foward to Gurode matchup week 1.

Posted by: dmlopez1 | August 23, 2010 3:13 AM | Report abuse

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