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Smith Clarifies Cartwright's Role

Running backs coach Stump Mitchell caused a bit of a stir the other day when he said Marcus Mason had supplanted Rock Cartwright as the team's No. 3 running back.

If starter Clinton Portis or backup Ladell Betts - the team's primary third-down back - is unable to take reps throughout the week, Mason would fill in during practice and play in games. That was not the case last season with Cartwright or Shaun Alexander, who had a brief run with the team. Even when Cartwright or Alexander got the majority of reps in practice, Portis still was the featured back in games.

But if all the running backs are physically sound, Portis, Betts and Cartwright, a standout on special teams, will be active each week. For Mason to be active, at least to start the season, he would have to make significant strides in his teams work.

I figured Cartwright wouldn't be particularly pleased with the new backfield pecking order, and he wasn't when I spoke to him Monday. I also figured offensive coordinator Sherman Smith would speak with Cartwright about the situation, and I was correct on that front, too.

"I talked to Rock today, and the first thing I told him was, 'No question, your major contribution is special teams. No doubt about that,'" Smith said. "You're a special-teams player. So if we go three active on Sunday, then it'll be Clinton, Ladell and Rock. So I told Rock he's really No. 3, because on game day we only have three.

"But let's say something happens to Clinton or Ladell. If they get hurt and can't play, Mason would come into that spot. It wouldn't be, all of a sudden, Rock is No. 2 and Mason is No. 3. That's just the way we explained it to him. But Rock is going to be active every week."

After speaking with Smith, Cartwright seemed to accept the situation. "I have to look at it like, 'What butters my bread?' And that's special teams," Cartwright said. "I'm satisfied with my role. I'm satisfied with having a job. I'm perfectly happy. I'm a special-teams guy and I'm here for the team."

Cartwright's initial reaction was not surprising, and Smith moved quickly to get everyone on the same page. When it was announced that Mason had made the opening 53-man roster, I wrote that I did not expect him to be active often this season.

But the Redskins put Mason on the team because they thought another organization would sign him, and they want to see him in action. Although the Redskins are committed to Betts on third down to start the season, I would not be surprised if Mason gets into the mix on that down if Betts fails to produce.

Of course, Mason would have to be active in games for the Redskins to observe him, but strange things often happen during a season. If the Redskins are determined to give Mason a long look, they'll find a way to do so.

"None of this is something against Rock or anyone else," Smith said. "We just think Mason is a good runner. We want him around."

By Jason Reid  |  September 9, 2009; 2:35 PM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Haynesworth, Jacobs Wage Battle of the Bigs
Next: Kelly Named Starting Flanker

Comments

First.

Posted by: RedCherokee | September 9, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Rock sees the problem with letting it fly in interviews... That's a pretty quick 180.

Posted by: DikShuttle | September 9, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

From the Times:

All 53 players were participating in practice, including CB Carlos Rogers, RG Randy Thomas, RB Clinton Portis and DT Albert Haynesworth, who all sat out the preseason finale.

*Special teams coach Danny Smith said Antwaan Randle El is first up on punt returns and Rock Cartwright will be the kickoff returner. Devin Thomas may be on the field for kickoff returns but not right away. As for punts, Santana Moss and DeAngelo Hall were taking reps in practice.

*Count Portis has one who is impressed with the depth of the Giants' defensive line.

"Me and Ladell [Betts] were looking at their d line this morning and you have Rocky Bernard and Chris Canty coming off the bench," Portis said/marveled. "They’ll have a fresh d line and they were awesome before they came over. It’s not a challenge we’re afraid of, it’s a challenge we’re used to. When they had Strahan and Osi, it was Tuck coming off the bench."

*Andre' Woodson was another big draw for the part of the media that just discovered he was in camp with the Giants. Jason Campbell joked that it was a different feeling not being the most sought-after quarterback in the locker room.

*Campbell on opening the season: "It’s a new season and a new beginning and every team wants to go out and set a tempo for the rest of the season. A lot of times, the first game won’t dictate how things will turn out, but it’s just about getting started."

*Haynesworth said facing 250-pound RB Brandon Jacobs won't be a big deal. "I was 250 pounds in the 10th grade," he said.

*QB Eli Manning has a career 68.1 passer rating against the Redskins (nine games) with seven touchdowns and six interceptions. The Giants are 6-3 in those games. He's reached 300 yards only once (305 last November at FedEx).

*A surprising stat is how LB Antonio Pierce has fared against the Redskins. After totaling 27 tackles in his three games/grudge matches, he has only 14 in the last four meetings.

*The Giants have seven new projected starters from the teams' 2008 season opener and the Redskins also have seven.

*After a phone call yesterday, I caught up with RB Rock Cartwright, who wanted to clarify a couple of his comments in Tuesday's RB story.

"I know my role is definitely special teams and I’m loyal to this team," Cartwright said. "I didn’t want everybody to think I’m negative and selfish. I’m a team guy."

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 9, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I run a year long foot ball pool. You pick 10 games a week against the spread. Whoever has most wins at end of season wins. I use CBS sports to run league. $20 to play. Collect via paypal. If anyone wants in email me at chrislarry33 @ me dot com and I will send invite. payout in the range of $300. Great marathon not sprint pool.

Posted by: chrislarry | September 9, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Rock's abilities on special teams have kept him in this league longer than a lot of #2 running backs.

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | September 9, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

If Cartwright cannot handle a little competition then he's in the wrong job. When did this league get so warm and fuzzy that the coaches had to apologize for doing their jobs? I cannot imagine Blache doing this. Hey, if it's my team to coach and a player puts himself before the team, and criticizes the way things are going, then I would let his butt criticize the pine bench for awhile. Geesh. Last year it was Portis with the I-don't-feel-special whining and now this year it is Cartwright. Why cater to these guys? Are they men on a football team, or something else? Lombardi must be rolling in his grave to see his respected football league reduced to this garbage.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | September 9, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

On national television.. you can bet Snyder's yelling Steinbrenner-like @ Cerrato, "WHY didn't we GET this guy Jacobs!?!"

Posted by: RedCherokee | September 9, 2009 2:42 PM
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

And Vinny's response?

"Because we spent so much money on Portis."

Posted by: smurff1 | September 9, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

*Count Portis has one who is impressed with the depth of the Giants' defensive line.

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 9, 2009 2:46 PM

That's funny. The Giants defense better keep their necks protected from "Count Portis".

BTW- the Times ought to have said "AS", not "has".

Posted by: RedCherokee | September 9, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

On national television.. you can bet Snyder's yelling Steinbrenner-like @ Cerrato, "WHY didn't we GET this guy Jacobs!?!"

Posted by: RedCherokee | September 9, 2009 2:42 PM

Just for a quick comparison to stop your ongoing Jacobs worship.

Clinton Portis
Age 28
rush yards: 9201
rush avg.: 4.5
rush td: 72

Brandon Jacobs
Age 27
rush yards: 2620
rush avg.: 4.7
rush td: 35

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8 | September 9, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

RedCherokee, I caught that as well -- love the idea of Count Portis... wasn't one of his costumed personae a dude in a cape?

Posted by: NateinthePDX | September 9, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"I'm satisfied with my role. I'm satisfied with having a job. I'm perfectly happy. I'm a special-teams guy and I'm here for the team."
==============================================

Now...THIS is not what I want to hear either. Fight for your spot........

Posted by: 4thFloor | September 9, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

4th agreed, cut rock, put Mason in all his spots, bring up Darrell Young....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 9, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

tru dat, 4th.

Posted by: DikShuttle | September 9, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

BMW most certainly was a factor when we drafted. He wasn't on the team but he already worked out for us and we liked what we saw. BMW is closer to starting than a 5th round tackle would have been. The thing is that you keep glossing over the fact that since we chose to improve our depth at cornerback and at linebacker/special teams instead of offensive line that we no longer have depth issues at cornerback and linebacker/special teams. If we would have drafted an olinemen then we would still need another cornerback or LB/special teams guy. You can't have it all. Going after the LBs that got cut is hindsight. You can easliy make the argument that a drafted tackle would have been cut and replaced by either BMW or Batiste. You must have went to the same hindsight school as peter king because you sure love to mmqb. We had 3 needs. We need CBs, LBs/Teams, and a tackle. We had BMW so that made the choice pretty clear. It was the correct choice.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | September 9, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse


I'm not glossing over anything, and I'm not totally against the Barnes pick, my contention is with the picks between Barnes and Marko. But if we improved our depth at those positions why was one of the two cut and the other barely made the team over an undrafted guy and if we improved at corner why did we have to keep Westbrook when there are reports that Barnes has looked lost and probably will be inactive this week. Listen we had/have depth issues in a lot of places, but the reason our season tanked last year wasn't because our 6th LB or 5th corner needed to be upgraded, its because our oline starters are old and injury prone and wear down over the season and there is little to no depth behind them. And you're going pretty far to say BMW is good for now, I don't know if you watched that Jacksonville game but he got abused until they pulled their starters, in fact our whole second unit looked pitiful while chase was in there. Things didn't settle down any and BMW didn't "powerful" as Vinny called it until the second half when he was playing against the 3rd string.....well guess what, if he plays for us in the regular season it won't be against the 3rd string. Our season could very well hinge on our oline depth and you're crazy if you think they did the right thing by taking 2LB and FB instead of drafting some guys on the oline to compete and see what they had. If they had taken two tackles in the draft and Baptiste and BMW beat them out then great, but they didn't and those guys made this roster by default, if Samuels or Heyer go down we are in big trouble.....

Posted by: zjfr2 | September 9, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"Because we spent so much money on Portis."


Posted by: smurff1 | September 9, 2009 2:52 PM

Jacobs was available to us in 2005 draft. Cerrato traded the 2nd and 3rd round to move up to get Campbell in the 1st round.

Posted by: RedCherokee | September 9, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

If your were exspecting a new number two reciver well think again it tho old one Randle el at least according to the projected line up on Redskins .com. So once again we wer lied to they said that he would be a slot reciver and one of the younger recivers would be nuimber two but once again the evil spector of special teams will leave the yonger players,Kelly thomas and Mitchell sitting on the bench

Leaving in the same mess that we were in last year and we will be o-16 because if it

Posted by: joevick | September 9, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"I know my role is definitely special teams and I’m loyal to this team," Cartwright said. "I didn’t want everybody to think I’m negative and selfish. I’m a team guy." - Rock Cartwright


This is a classic "Ooopsie, I've put my stank azz foot in my mouth."

Looks like Cartwright is channeling his inner bostskin.

Smart of him to tread back on his "what about me? love me, hold me, care about me" ranting he was doing. He would've lost the only fans he has left.

All 97 of 'em.

Posted by: RedDMV | September 9, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

24

Pre-camp ranking: 24
Washington Redskins
The Giants are the only NFC East team that has put together more than one 10-win season in the past four years, so why does it feel like the Redskins are perennially looking up at all three of their division rivals? I'm not quite sure, but if you believe these preseason power rankings, they'll be doing it once again in 2009.


Laughable really. 24? We were 8-8 last year and improved just about everywhere. Better receivers, punter, D-Line, pass rush.

I am happy people are putting us here, setting lower expectations for us to destroy.


Thats from SI.

Posted by: saltine182 | September 9, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Just for a quick comparison to stop your ongoing Jacobs worship.

Clinton Portis
Age 28
rush yards: 9201
rush avg.: 4.5
rush td: 72

Brandon Jacobs
Age 27
rush yards: 2620
rush avg.: 4.7
rush td: 35

Posted by: PortisPocketsStr8
_____________________

So Jacobs scores a TD every 75 yards, vs. Portis who scores a TD every 128 yards...

Part of that is probably that Jacobs is run more often on short & goal.

Posted by: chasgiffen | September 9, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Yo, JoeVick:

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Posted by: DikShuttle | September 9, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

"Cerrato traded the 2nd and 3rd round to move up to get Campbell in the 1st round"


That doesn't sound right.....not even close...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 9, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"Because we spent so much money on Portis."


Posted by: smurff1 | September 9, 2009 2:52 PM

Jacobs was available to us in 2005 draft. Cerrato traded the 2nd and 3rd round to move up to get Campbell in the 1st round.

Posted by: RedCherokee | September 9, 2009 3:05 PM
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

You are correct. But we had already picked up Portis in 2004. Investment already made.....

Posted by: smurff1 | September 9, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Don Banks, has the Redskins ranked 24? is this guy serious? I guess it doesn't have any consequences for these guys to run their stupid mouth

They just turn around and say the team surprised them, but they way they suck arse out of previously successful teams is just funny

hereis how he ranks NE at 1st and then hedges his bet:

"New England Patriots
Between them, Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, and Rodney Harrison owned a combined 11 Super Bowl rings with a Patriots logo on them. And now they're all gone, and Junior Seau too. I picked New England to win it all this season, but I'm not as confident in that choice today because you wonder how much leadership the defense can lose without it exacting a toll. Don't fixate on Tom Brady's knee and the offense next Monday night against Buffalo. It's the defense, especially what has been a very shaky secondary this preseason, that may tell us more about how far the Patriots can go in 2009.
Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/don_banks/09/09/pre.regular.season/index.html?eref=T1#ixzz0Qdc0jGO1"

Don Banks, you need to reach for the soap in the prison shower room, take your wife and mother with you you scum

Posted by: peaceful2008 | September 9, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

peace, I thought the same thing, Pitt didn't lose anyone on that defense, but the pats lost 4 starters on defense, and somehow they've leapfrogged pitt??

Banks is a local guy, so he of course knows that saying something/anything bad about the pats is akin to career suicide....what you didn't know they VIDEO TAPE all their press conferences....gee, I wonder why they do that.....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 9, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I just read that Banks' garbage. He lists ZERO reasons for ranking the Skins #24.

And only 1 guy had Orakpo as his ROY choice in their roundtable picks. Everyone was riding Laurinatitiatiasiaties' joc. (or however you spell that junk)

Posted by: McMetal | September 9, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

If your were exspecting a new number two reciver well think again it tho old one Randle el at least according to the projected line up on Redskins .com. So once again we wer lied to they said that he would be a slot reciver and one of the younger recivers would be nuimber two but once again the evil spector of special teams will leave the yonger players,Kelly thomas and Mitchell sitting on the bench

Leaving in the same mess that we were in last year and we will be o-16 because if it

Posted by: joevick | September 9, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Um???????????

First of all, what is on Redskin.com means nothing. Second of all, 0-16? Really? You should be working for a network with that kind of analysis.

Posted by: 44riggosranger44 | September 9, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: zjfr2 | September 9, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I guess we'll agree to disagree. I don't think picking up 3rd, 5th, or 6th round tackles would have helped us at all this year. I think BMW will be fine in a couple of weeks and better then any 3rd, 5th, or 6th round pick would have been. BMW looks powerful in running plays but still struggles in protection. He will learn better footwork and hand placement in the next few weeks. I think by the time we need him he'll be ready to go. Despite the situation we are currently in we are a lot better off then we were last year. BMW is already better than Jansen and will continue to get better. Dockery is better than Kendall. Stephon this year is better than Stephon last year. Rhineart may actually be functional at this level this year. They may break down again but I'd still take BMW over a 3rd round rookie tackle.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | September 9, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"Don Banks, you need to reach for the soap in the prison shower room, take your wife and mother with you you scum

Posted by: peaceful2008"

Yikes dude, jeez. Its football not a holy war. I just hope he eats a huge helping of crow. Banks is a fool no doubt, but lets keep this in the realm of sane.

Posted by: chrislarry | September 9, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: zjfr2 | September 9, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I guess we'll agree to disagree. I don't think picking up 3rd, 5th, or 6th round tackles would have helped us at all this year. I think BMW will be fine in a couple of weeks and better then any 3rd, 5th, or 6th round pick would have been. BMW looks powerful in running plays but still struggles in protection. He will learn better footwork and hand placement in the next few weeks. I think by the time we need him he'll be ready to go. Despite the situation we are currently in we are a lot better off then we were last year. BMW is already better than Jansen and will continue to get better. Dockery is better than Kendall. Stephon this year is better than Stephon last year. Rhineart may actually be functional at this level this year. They may break down again but I'd still take BMW over a 3rd round rookie tackle.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | September 9, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Last I will say on this because I agree it is time to agree to disagree, but "I don't think picking up 3rd, 5th, or 6th round tackles would have helped us at all this year" is exactly the mentality that got us into this mess in the first place, its not always about "this year" and neither one of us are coaches, I happen to think a mid round tackle would be better than BMW or Baptiste, but I know in the long run our oline depth is a serious issue and we've ignored it for way way too long in the draft....

Posted by: zjfr2 | September 9, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

PAfan:

Sorry to disagree, but at least half of the plays with BMW that I saw, he was helping the opponant stand upright in order to get to the ballcarrier, or the passer. I see absolutely NO reason to draft two linebackers that will be special teamers at best for the next two-three years instead of one T. Even one that would be cut because he was worthless.

Posted by: glawrence007 | September 9, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Don Banks, you need to reach for the soap in the prison shower room, take your wife and mother with you you scum

Posted by: peaceful2008 | September 9, 2009 3:14 PM

What does this even mean, anyway?

Posted by: talent_evaluator | September 9, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Zorn names Kelley starting flanker

Posted by: noonefromtampa | September 9, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

beeps

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 9, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

zjfr2:

Batiste is playing out of position at T, and from what I saw of his play there - "No, no, a thousand times no." He was out played consistantly kinda' like BIG MIKE in his first x-game. But I also saw extensive work by BATISTE at LG where he was passable. The problem is we just don't have anyone else with JEREMY BRIDGES cut, and REUBAN RILEY and DEVIN CLARK gone with knee miseries. No choice in other words. Could there have been a choice with a third rounder picked instead of KEVIN BARNES? That becomes the crux of the issue. The offense was sacrificed to rebuild the defense, and its gonna' hurt this year. The management needs to take a more even hand where draft choices are concerned. BTW, I do believe HENSON will be a servicible backer in time.

Posted by: glawrence007 | September 9, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"Could there have been a choice with a third rounder picked instead of KEVIN BARNES? That becomes the crux of the issue"

Let's see who was there for the picking. Barnes was number 80. Looks like there were no OTs selected behind him in the 3rd round. Wisconsin's Kraig Urbik went one pick earlier. In the 4th we find TJ Lang of E. Michigan ('enormous and stiff-legged') going to Green Bay at 109 and Troy Kopog of Tulane ('a run blocker who might be converted to guard') to the Titans at 135. There was a bit of a run on OTs in the fifth round led by Xavier Fulton of Illinois (couldn't locate a scouting report).

In sum, a decidedly mixed group. Looking back to the second round -- because somebody will argue that we shouldn't have given up that pick -- we might have had Phil Loadholt or Andy Levitre or Max Unger or Sebastian Vollmer. But that's spilled milk.

Oh well, hindsight is 20-20. Unless you're on the RI, in which case it's a lot, lot better.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 9, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Re: Cartwright, I had no problem with his reaction to the Mason announcement, and in fact, I wouldn't want a player on my team who was happy with having his role diminished.

Posted by: rbpalmer | September 9, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

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