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Sellers prefers to let actions speak for him

After word emerged about the locker-room altercation earlier this season between running back Clinton Portis and fullback Mike Sellers, some Redskins fans criticized Sellers's blocking on Internet message boards and sports-talk radio shows.

During a 16-13 victory in Week 4 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Portis went to coaches in an effort to have Sellers demoted for what Portis deemed to be poor blocking. Apparently in siding with Portis, fans criticized Sellers for the team's unproductive running game to start the season, believing Portis would have been more effective if Sellers had blocked better.

But many in the organization told me Sellers's blocking was not what had derailed the running game. Portis was not in top form to start the season and his lackadaisical attitude toward practice did not help.

After watching Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright gain chunks of yards since Portis has been sidelined with a concussion, I wondered whether Sellers - who was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season - felt somewhat vindicated. During a lengthy interview, Sellers never mentioned Portis's name or the incident but nonetheless made his feelings clear.

"Well, a lot of those runs came to my side," Sellers said. "I'm at the tight end spot, so I don't feel I fell off just because of what certain people have said. I feel great. I don't feel I fell off at all. I just think due to certain circumstances frustrations come out and people want to point the finger. Obviously, as you see this last game, we looked good."

With Betts starting for the first time this season during the 27-17 victory in Week 10 over the Denver Broncos, the Redskins' offense produced season-highs with 388 total net yards and 174 yards rushing. Betts had 114 yards - the team's highest single-game total - and scored his second rushing touchdown in as many games to move into the team lead in that category.

"I don't care what the public says, but when you're attacked certain people of ... it's a little different," Sellers said. "I let my actions speak for itself. They can watch the film.

"If they still feel that way, then that's the way they're going to feel. But I know I how I feel and I know what I can do. And Ladell and Rock and all the linemen know what I can do and what I've been doing. So just keep rolling."

Sellers is not perfect and he acknowledged he has made mistakes in trying to execute his assignments this season just like other players.

"When you have one bad play or two bad plays, they're magnified, because you're always remembered for the bad things, never the great things," he said. "My things I've done great-wise far outnumber the bad things.

"It [the criticism] wasn't justified. Like I said, that's people speaking out of frustration, or persons speaking out of frustration, and it is what it is. I know the people who trust me. And I know the coaches trust me. I just keep doing what I'm doing."

In addition to blocking well against the Broncos, Sellers also caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from punter Hunter Smith on a faked field goal.

"He still can block, he still can play, and shoot, he's a great receiver out of backfield, so it's a plus for us to have him on the field," said quarterback Jason Campbell, among Sellers's closest friends on the team.

"He makes so many plays that people don't see, and that's those blocks down the field. Even in our passing game, he's made some big catches and runs. His athletic ability, for the size that he is, is something that you just can't teach."

Since losing Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels and starting right guard Randy Thomas for the season, the Redskins often have used two-tight-end sets in the running game, "and I think that's given him more of an opportunity to be on the field and be in a comfortable position that he's used to, instead of going into the game and coming out of the game," Campbell said. "He's more into a rhythm now. Mike is just doing a good job. He's just helping our team in a lot of ways, and we definitely need him out there."

By Jason Reid  |  November 19, 2009; 3:59 PM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid  
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Next: Portis ruled out; Haynesworth a gameday decision

Comments

first to say F Dallas Again

Posted by: ThrowItToMyTeam | November 19, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"Obviously, as you see this last game, we looked good."

"White courtesy van for Mr. Portis. Mr. Portis, your van is waiting."

Posted by: nojunk4me | November 19, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

wow....no reading between the lines with this.....yikes...way to speak your mind Mike..good for you...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | November 19, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Someone was perhaps unduly criticized on the internet and on sports radio? I'm shocked, absolutely shocked.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | November 19, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

it's what he didn't say that speaks volumes.

Posted by: Curzon417 | November 19, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Pick your favorite Dallas-Skins memory:

Posted by: p1funk
____________________

1982 NFC Championship victory over the cowpies at RFK... The Darryl Grant pick 6... Danny White looking lost (and crying?) on the sidelines... the Dallas helmet lit on fire on the field after the game...

Posted by: chasgiffen

Posted by: chasgiffen | November 19, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Zeke, thanks for the second link as well. nice read, even 30+ years later.

Posted by: Curzon417 | November 19, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

cue up pabrian defending portis in 5.....4.....3....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | November 19, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

yea I mean if you can just ignore the missed goal line blocks and dropped TD Mike Sellers is great.

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | November 19, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Pick your favorite Dallas-Skins memory:

1) LaVar knocking Aikman into retirement.

2) The Weapon of Moss Destruction catching 2 long-bombs in the last 4 minutes and sticking it to Parcells as well.

3) Sean Taylor blowing up Patrick Crayton on 4th down to seal the win in above-mentioned game.

4) Blocked Cowboys kick and return by ST21 to put Skins in FG position and win the game on a Nick Novak 47-yarder.

5) Marion Barber averaging -1yd per rush at FedEx in 2007

Posted by: p1funk | November 19, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

1) No Danny, No! Love that one because the Redskins dominated physically and mentally.
2) Dexter knocks Danny into last week on a Saturday afternoon in RFK. Madden was scared the booth was going to collapse.
3) Darryl Grant pic 6 from the same game.
4) Kenny Houston stands up Walt Garrison to preserve 14-7 on MNF.
5) New Years Eve, 1972. Curt Knight kicks 5 FGs and the Redskins head off to California for the Superbowl.

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | November 19, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | November 19, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Wait, hold the phone... the person who was perhaps unduly criticized on the internet and on sports radio took umbrage at that criticism?. Again, I'm just flabbergasted to learn of this.

Count me among the people, or persons, speaking out of frustration. Pretty common for me, actually, and not limited to the Redskins' running game.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | November 19, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Is it Portis or the play calling?

Either way, in the past two weeks things have changed with this team. They tend to coincide more with Portis being out and the play calling being straight ahead running. Ban the stretch play and keep rolling.

Sellers has missed a few blocks, but I think Portis has lost his burst.

Posted by: oknow1 | November 19, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I just read that it's been 20 years since the skins had consecutive wins in Dallas.....time to break that streak.

Posted by: dlhaze1 | November 19, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

beeps

Posted by: Curzon417 | November 19, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Dexter cleaning Danny White's clock.
Santana's long bomb followed by the next one to shock the Boiz.
72 title game.
No Danny NO!!

Posted by: VegasJim | November 19, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Can someone tell these Redskins too shut their mouths and play football? They are killing thenselves talking the game.

Posted by: hessone | November 19, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

4) Blocked Cowboys kick and return by ST21 to put Skins in FG position and win the game on a Nick Novak 47-yarder.
Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe

Correction!, Troy Vincent made that block.

Posted by: jcnjcnj | November 19, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Correction again, i misread i thought you were saying ST21 made the block...my bad

Posted by: jcnjcnj | November 19, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

What? No mention of Sellers being "benched" as the lead blocker for Yoder last game (which Portis asked for).

Sellers was switched to tight end last game because he continually missed his blocks as the lead blocker.

Put Sellers on the line a few feet away and tell him to block THAT guy and he's fine. Put him a few yards back and tell him to block the person entering the hole and he misses every time.

Posted by: right3 | November 19, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

"Apparently in siding with Portis, fans criticized Sellers for the team's unproductive running game to start the season, believing Portis would have been more effective if Sellers had blocked better."

Mr. Mayor, you are an idiot! I see your man crush just doesn't extend to Rock Cartwright, it goes to Sellers as well.

Everyone saw time after time Sellers miss blocks and play the role of Matador. Your biased hatred of CP is really getting tired.


Posted by: dcwun | November 19, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Sellers is a beast and a true Redskin!!! Get him more involved because he always provides a spark!!! He is right...he didn't come out and say it but Portis is the problem with the running game. Portis has lost a couple steps for sure!!

Posted by: jcrabbe1 | November 19, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Caveman got tired of CP not practicing and dry snitching and 'missed' some blocks to let his ass get lit up to teach him a lesson...LOL

Posted by: kahlua87 | November 19, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for this puff piece making Sellers out to be the good guy to stir controversy. JASON REID please do your research. Who was lead blocking when we needed the rushing TD against Denver? Todd Yoder out of the backfield... If Sellers is having such a great season, why wasn't he in on that play? Make excuses all you want, but Portis was right. And the coaches have done something about it by changing Sellers position. He didn't do much lead blocking vs. Denver. Do your research before you try to stir the pot. Thanks.

Posted by: destewar | November 19, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

He's been nothing but a bust since we overpaid dearly for this lazy, above the team, too good to practice like everyone else, whiny, non-preseason playing, friends with the owner so I don't have to respect the coach, grossly overpaid-- done nothing whatsoever of note in Wash so naturally I get an enormous contract from a front office buffoon, do as I please little bit**!!

The most overrated RB in the NFC since his arrival! What the hell has he done but average 4 YPC and taken us NOWHERE. Made 1 PB.. last year out of default.. play sure as hell did not support it! Here he shows his blatant pomposity! Apparently he is grossly overrated even by himself!

First step to recovery.. EXIT PORT Jester!! Dammit just pay attention folks! Don't let this fool disarm you with his cat that ate the canary smile and demolition of the English lauguage!!

Posted by: iubiquity | November 19, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Pick your favorite Dallas-Skins memory:

Posted by: p1funk

Ken Houston standing up real life cowboy Walt Garrison just short of the goal line in the waning seconds to preserve a Skins win back in nineteen seventy something.

Posted by: kenboy1 | November 20, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

This isn't a black and white issue. Some things are undeniable. Portis plays hard every down, and blocks like a madman. He has done more than his share to win or almost win many, many games since he's come to DC. He has endured many injuries, and often plays through them. He basically blows off practice and preseason as much as he is allowed. He has lost a step, or two, or three. How much of that is because of age, injury, or refusal to take practice more seriously, I haven't the slightest. Sellers definitely whiffed big time on two crucial blocks on two crucial plays in two different games that could have been the difference in winning and losing. Sellers has made many more crucial blocks on many more crucial plays to win games in his time here. And he can catch, too. Kind of like Don Warren on steroids. One thing for sure, I don't have to completely demonize Portis and trash his whole tenure here to recognize that it is probably close to time for him to hang up the old cleats.

Posted by: kenboy1 | November 20, 2009 1:34 AM | Report abuse

Man, one of the biggest surprise wins over Dallas came when Emmitt Smith tried to throw Troy Aikman's fumble out of the endzone, but didn't... and Danny Copeland recovered it...

Took the refs about 20 seconds to realize Copeland actually had scored as he stood at the 20 yard line waving the ball.

The sack was by some out of work bouncer named Vince Buck. The stinkin' Cowboys went on to win the Super Bowl, I think.

But the Petitbon Monday Night 1993 season opening THRASHING was also one of my favorites.

Posted by: Thinker_ | November 20, 2009 1:39 AM | Report abuse

Just checked it:

Yeah, they did. They beat Buffalo again.

52-17.

How 'bout them Cowboys!

I find myself yelling that every time they screw up. It's Great. I think I love hating the Cowboys more than I love the Redskins. It's SUCH a great feeling.

Posted by: Thinker_ | November 20, 2009 1:51 AM | Report abuse

i'm not gonna sit here and say sellers is perfect but i've seen games where he's started his lead blocking and portis didn't follow him only to get tackled for a loss or no gain. there's no denying portis puts his body on the line when he's in the game but there's no cohesion between him and his o line and while i still think the line needs work, i can truly see now that he doesn't understand their tendencies and they don't understand his that's why he hasn't been the game changer we need him to be. that's the biggest difference between portis and betts/cartwright. betts and cartwright can actually see that sliver of daylight and attack it with authority whereas portis doesn't react to the opening quite as fast and he ends up running into someone's back before getting taken down. if portis wants to be an elite runner, he needs to practice like one. b mitchell was right..."if you don't practice you don't deserve to be on the field". if portis actually practiced, he and sellers would work as one and not look so disjointed. the problem isn't so much sellers as it is portis' lack of desire to unify himself with the team during practice.

Posted by: charronegro1971 | November 20, 2009 2:53 AM | Report abuse

I saw a well orchestrated running attack the other day... practice, practice, practice.....I saw REDSKIN football the other day.. don't read between the lines anyone who has played this game... you have to feel this game... only through practice, practice, practice

Posted by: travmanf | November 20, 2009 5:40 AM | Report abuse

"Sellers Lets His Actions Speak For Him". that was the title of the article? So why is he speaking about the criticism and justifying his earl season mis-cues? This article has no purpose other than to expose Portis.

iubiquity, you are ignorant and worthless. Save your Portis bashing for the Dallas boards. Portis has gone to 3 Pro Bowls, not 1. And how is averaging 4 yards per carry bad? (althought he has actually averaged more than that) Were the Vikings a Superbowl team last year with A.P.? No. but this year he has a QUARTEBACK, and now they are legit. What QB/ O-Line has Portis ever had?

Posted by: wewbank1 | November 20, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Man, one of the biggest surprise wins over Dallas came when Emmitt Smith tried to throw Troy Aikman's fumble out of the endzone, but didn't... and Danny Copeland recovered it...

Took the refs about 20 seconds to realize Copeland actually had scored as he stood at the 20 yard line waving the ball.

The sack was by some out of work bouncer named Vince Buck. The stinkin' Cowboys went on to win the Super Bowl, I think.

But the Petitbon Monday Night 1993 season opening THRASHING was also one of my favorites.

Posted by: Thinker_ | November 20, 2009 1:39 AM

Good call on that wild 20-17 win over the Cowboys back in December 1992. That bizarre sack-fumble-recovery for a TD in the endzone play has to be right up there with one of the more memorable plays in this series.

The d-lineman who sacked Aikman and caused the fumble was Jason Buck. He actually had a pretty solid NFL career with the Bengals and Redskins. He contributed on the Redskins' Super Bowl XXVI team; the Skins signed him during that tremendous '91 season after they had lost the versatile Markus Koch to a knee injury.

Remember the option pass that Earnest Byner threw to Terry Orr for a TD earlier in that game? And how about Andre Collins' interception by the goal line as the Cowboys looked like they were going in for a TD?


Posted by: tas73 | November 20, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Say what you will, but the game tapes clearly show Mike Sellers missing two key blocks on endzone plays this season. Indisputable facts. All the players on this 3 - 6 football team need to shut up, play, and start acting like professional football players instead of whiny toddlers. I couldn't care less if they are happy with one another or best friends. Same for you whiny sportswriters.

Posted by: oldschoolfan | November 20, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Portis has gone to 3 Pro Bowls, not 1

Posted by: wewbank1

1 PB with the Skins doofus! Totally undeserved, default, pity pick! Who cares what he did at Denver?? You're reaching!

Posted by: iubiquity | November 20, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

The majority of fans thought Portis was right for trying to get Sellers benched? Just how out of touch is this kid?

Posted by: themantoyou | November 20, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Sellers has along with Cooley been the MVP on offense with everything he does for the team. When Portis made his comments it was clearly to cover up his poor performance. You have had a good career Clinton but it is time. Of course the Redskins will still be paying him for a few years after he retires thanks to the continued restructuring of contracts. I think Danny is still paying Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders.

Posted by: chopin224 | November 20, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Keep Yoder at Fullback in place of Mike.
O-Line, keep your mean-streak in tact! You guys are playing GREAT. Orakpo, don't go easy on Romo if you get a shot on him! Get well soon CP, Betts will need some help eventually.

BEAT DALLAS UP!!!

Posted by: wewbank1 | November 20, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

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