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Alexander Likely Out

The Redskins came through Sunday's game in pretty good health, according to Coach Jim Zorn said. Defensive tackle Lorenzo Alexander is "doubtful" for Sunday's finale i San Francisco with a hamstring injury, but most of the other injured players are expected to take play.

A group of defensive starters are hobbled but expected to play. Linebacker London Fletcher was limping by the end of the game but will play. Defensive tackles Cornelius Griffin (abdominal strain), Kedric Golston (bone spurs) and end Jason Taylor (bruised ribs) made it through Sunday's 10-3 win and though some might be spared at practice this week, they should be ready to face the 49ers.

Zorn said that running back Clinton Portis picked up a few more nicks but is on target to finish the season. Portis now has a calf muscle strain, bruised hand, sprained ankle and back spasms to go with hip, knee and neck issues from earlier in the season - but Zorn praised him for running hard against the Eagles.

Portis has slowed dramatically in the second half of the season, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry in the last seven games with just a single touchdown, a one-yard plunge against Philadelphia yesterday.

By Jason La Canfora  |  December 22, 2008; 1:05 PM ET
 
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Next: Carter Returns to 'The Stick'

Comments

I think too much was put on JC this year to run this system. Rabach should have had the responsibility to call the blocking for the Oline. I think this was part of the problem with the offense.

JC should have only had to read the defense and play QB this year. Zorn put too much on JC which never let him play relaxed.

Just my opinion.

Posted by: Curzon417 | December 22, 2008 1:20 PM |

Posted by: Curzon417 | December 22, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"VT = gets it. As long as the opposing team can bring pressure without blitzing, our offense will suffer.

Posted by: shaunsherman12"

There is not one person, myself included, that disagrees with this.

However, THAT is not the root of the problem that forces this offense to put up less than 11 points per game in the second half of the season. The offensive line has played sub-par, yes. But it hasn't been THAT bad. Big Ben, Matt Cassel, Brett Favre, Joe Flacco, and Aaron Rodgers have all taken 30 or more sacks this year. Each one of their offenses put up considerably more points than the Redskins. The problems with this offense run far deeper than the offensive line.

Posted by: psps23

Posted by: psps23 | December 22, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Just heard that Zorn said he will play all his starters against 49ers, he said trying out rookies is for the pre-season.

Posted by: Flounder21 | December 22, 2008 1:27 PM

It's these types of decisions that make me wonder if Zorn is capable of being a HC. I am starting to wonder if he is capable of making any kind of adjustments.

Posted by: Curzon417 | December 22, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Please! Please get a serious new GM. And I am not sure if the West Coast Offense is Cerrato's choice of SYSTEM, Jason Campbell is the QB of the future. I don't think he can run a west coast offense. Decide on a system and hire players that fit the system. But who will tell Cerrato-Snyder that?? This is a dictatorship.

Posted by: cerrato_bites | December 22, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Zorn has been crippled by Cerrato. That guy is a joke!!!

Posted by: cerrato_bites | December 22, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Jason Campbell is the QB of the future. I don't think he can run a west coast offense.

Seriously, he did a pretty poor job of running the WCO at Auburn the year they went undefeated.

Posted by: VTDuffman | December 22, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse


"Teams that do this have good offensive lines. Washington can't afford 2 60 million dollar running backs so you have to rock portis until the wheels come off. Unless you was to watch Betts carry for one yard per play."

Even 2 60-million-dollar backs can't produce stellar results behind a crappy o-line -- at least not in the pros. Frankly, I'd like to see Betts get more carries. Portis does not have the burst that he used to, and he isn't getting any younger. If neither back can break long runs, why not spell Portis more - especially when Betts has been better in the receiving game?

Posted by: jcabana | December 22, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jcabana | December 22, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Zorn's trying to establish a philosophy. If part of that is "starters play" philosophy. I can live with that. Besides 9-7 is still 9-7

Posted by: alex35332 | December 22, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Listened to the game, didn't see it. Sounds like the iggles dropped a couple of TDs (Asante and the WR at the end). Wind can do funny things to guys ability to catch.

I don't like teams that lose important games. The Skins lost an important game to Cincy last week. This week, they won an unimportant game ... and (yeh!!) philly lost an important game.

Its been an odd year. But its all about 2009 and the only thing I learned from yesterday is that maybe Jason Taylor isn't 100% washed up.

Anyone else learn anything from yesterday's game?

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 22, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

We should start a motion to get Cerrato transferred to any of the other NFC East teams!

Posted by: cerrato_bites | December 22, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"I would argue that third in rushing yards is a stellar result."

I would argue yet again that statistics can be incredibly misleading. Anyone who hasn't noticed that most of those yards came during the first half of the season, and that Portis can't take it to the house on long runs anymore because he has too high a workload and wears down too quickly (and that the o-line is similarly wearing down), all I can say is that you must not have been watching the same team that I have this season.

Posted by: jcabana | December 22, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

If neither back can break long runs, why not spell Portis more - especially when Betts has been better in the receiving game?

"Spell" Portis with Betts too many times or for too long and he cries about it on the radio the next day.

Posted by: VTDuffman | December 22, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I would argue that being third in the NFL is stellar.

Posted by: Pleepleus | December 22, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

jcabana, Betts led the Skins in receiving yards yesterday. I gather that the idea of RB catching passes is real WCO-y.

What I'd like to find out would be the stat for play calls (even if it were just broken down to run v. pass) that lead to first downs (not just yesterday, but the whole season).

Posted by: dcsween | December 22, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

yesterday we gave a good mix of carries between CP and Betts/Rock. 22-7-1.

After all the needs at line and LB are cared for I would like to see the skins look at a late pick RB with some speed. CP is the most balanced RB in the NFL, he can do everything and do it all giving 100%. Betts is a light power/receiver. We need that speed guy at some point who in the 4th quarter when teams are tired out can come in and just go right by everyone.

Posted by: alex35332 | December 22, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"Spell" Portis with Betts too many times or for too long and he cries about it on the radio the next day.

Posted by: VTDuffman

Not if the team wins or puts up more than 10 points in the game.

Vs. PHI, Betts finishes with 7 rushes and 5 receptions.

vs. BAL, Betts finishes with 6 rushes and 3 receptions.

Let's see if Portis "cries" about it this week.

Posted by: psps23 | December 22, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I spell Portis R-E-L-I-E-F.

Posted by: dcsween | December 22, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

VT, this whole tete a tete started over how Campbell would do elsewhere. I don't rank him up there with Cassell or Schaub. Apparently, you do. Houston has the third ranked offense and the 4th ranked passing offense in the NFL. Last year they had the 14th ranked offense (11th passing). With Carr they were 30th overall (30th passing) in 2005 and 28th overall (27th passing) in 2006. I'd say they are getting their money's worth.

Posted by: learnedhand1 | December 22, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Sweeen.

Like this?

FIRST DOWNS (Rushing-passing-by penalty)
Was 101 - 156 - 19
Opponents 77 - 149 - 14

Posted by: alex35332 | December 22, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Shawn Springs never misses a game.

Posted by: TheTruth11 | December 22, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"There is not one person, myself included, that disagrees with this.

However, THAT is not the root of the problem that forces this offense to put up less than 11 points per game in the second half of the season. The offensive line has played sub-par, yes. But it hasn't been THAT bad. Big Ben, Matt Cassel, Brett Favre, Joe Flacco, and Aaron Rodgers have all taken 30 or more sacks this year. Each one of their offenses put up considerably more points than the Redskins. The problems with this offense run far deeper than the offensive line."

---

I agree the O-line is not the ONLY problem, but it is the predominant one. No scheme will work if you don't pass protect and the running game disappears against any worthy opponent.

I'm of that minority that finds Portis, however great a blocker he may be, to be expendable because of his mouth, his nagging injuries, and his huge cap number.

All the QB's listed above have better weapons save Flacco (who gets short fields and D points virtually every game..in fact, all those teams up there have seen points produced by their D's at a much higher rate than the skins), which is something most of us won't admit to, and is the other problem. Moss is a great WR - for about 8-10 games - then he pulls a hammy, and disappears for a month. This has been his MO since after 2005, the only season he really stayed healthy. Randle El simply isn't a #2 WR. Hopefully, the young guys will develop and this will be addressed by them. Cooley is a good player, but is essentially their possession WR - but as good as he is, he just isn't a WR who can open things up for Moss.

Having said all of that, if the O-line could do it's job at a higher level, all of these guys would appear better players, including JC.

I just believe that the O-line impacts the level of the skill position players far more than the other way around.

Posted by: shaunsherman12 | December 22, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Portis has slowed dramatically in the second half of the season, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry in the last seven games with just a single touchdown, a one-yard plunge against Philadelphia yesterday.


By Jason La Canfora | December 22, 2008; 1:05 PM

During their record setting seasons, I wonder how many "one-yard plunge" TDs did Riggins, Smith, Alexander, and Tomlinson scored.

And more in depth and hard-hitting analysis by La Canfora, "Portis has slowed dramatically in the second half of the season, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry in the last seven games" - no monkey turd, La Canfora. With no REAL passing game, dudes stack eight in the friggin' box.

Has been this way in D.C. for a few years now, La Canfora. Portis' production always tails off at the end of the season due to lack of a verticle passing game.

The 'skins screen you to death.

Posted by: RedDMV | December 22, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I love CP's play. His toughness, his fight, his pass blocking, blocking downfield. But his recieving skills are average at best. Thats why Betts went in vs the Ravens. Did you see the pass CP dropped late yesterday, while he was wide open in the flat. Betts is a significantly better reciever. And most teams who ppl say run the WCO have a RB that is an excellent reciever. Westbrook is the prime example. The Skins kinda set themselves up to have to keep CP, LB and RC for awhile with their new contracts. Rock would be the most expendable, but his leadership and special teams play have carved him a niche here for another 3 or 4 years I would think. Theyve definitely made their beds with CP and to a lesser extent LB. I think these guys will adapt along with the coaches adapting to who does what best. But to think about drafting a RB... not gona happen if Cerrato is smart. Find a descent practice squad player like Mason from this past Training camp. They have to many other needs to use limited draft picks on a RB.

Posted by: TonyButterFingersHomo1 | December 22, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Sween, RBs catching passes is a part of the WCO.
going back to the SF offense, the original WCO, Roger Craig led the NFL in receptions one year (1 more than Art Monk) and Ricky Watters caught 3 TDs in a Super Bowl.

RBs catching passes is a big part of the WCO. Betts and Portis are a good fit for it

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 22, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Portis broke some long runs (not TD's) early in the season before he started to wear down from overuse. Did people forget that Betts got hurt early in the season and Sean Alexander was Portis' main backup? I doubt Portis would have been carrying 25-30+ times weekly and continued to play with injuries if we had a a better supporting cast and Betts was healthy. Portis leads the league in carries because he's a workhorse who will do anything to play.

Teams like Indy rest Joseph Addai when he is nicked and continue to win with backups like Dominic Rhodes. Why? They have a good O-Line, 4 top WR's, and continuity at offensive coordinator and head coach. The Skins have neither which is why Portis was a shadow of himself in the 2nd half of the season and JC had no downfield threat to thow to besides Moss.

It's a vicious cycle but it goes back to the GM's selection of personnel in the draft, FA, and through trades. Vinny has proven to be mediocre at best over the years and should be replaced with someone who knows what they are doing. If Pioli of NE is available, Danny should be doing everything he can to sign him in the offseason to rebuild the team which has a lot of holes and age on both sides of the ball. Vinny's used all but 4 of our draft picks for next year on trades for Jason Taylor, Pete Kendall, and Erasmus James so we're already starting in a hole.

Posted by: wizfan89 | December 22, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

gonna ask it again, since I only listened to the game (Sam Huff is awful, but you still love him)

What did we learn (other than Jason Taylor can still play)?

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 22, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping JC will be more aggressive next year. Even when the line was healthy and he had adequate protection, he's been too quick to dump it off to the running back or Cooley at times. Our WRs get a step behind the defense with regularity (especially Moss and Thomas), but Campbell doesn't throw it unless they have a couple of steps. He needs to figure out that half a step is "open" in the NFL and take some shots.

Posted by: LiberalMike | December 22, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

What did we learn (other than Jason Taylor can still play)?

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 22, 2008 1:58 PM

We learned we wasted another stellar defense this year.

Posted by: LiberalMike | December 22, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

No one should be surprised at the negative statements JLC makes towards Portis. He never gives him credit for playing as hard as any back in the league. I'm surprised he didn't hype up Rock Cartwright's 1 carry yesterday as he does regularly with inything that involves Rock.

Posted by: dcwun | December 22, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Sweeen.

Like this?

FIRST DOWNS (Rushing-passing-by penalty)
Was 101 - 156 - 19
Opponents 77 - 149 - 14

Posted by: alex35332 | December 22, 2008 1:50 PM

Yes, and thank you young Skywalker. Where did you find that? I wonder if that site has the cumulative totals as of being 6-2 (and whether the Skins first down rate was higher off the passing game during those games of greatness as well). I'm guessing that, over the span of all of Gibbs 2.0, there were more first downs from running plays than there were from passing plays.

Posted by: dcsween | December 22, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

What did we learn (other than Jason Taylor can still play)?

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 22, 2008 1:58 PM

That Betts is and has been a good passing option, even better than Portis?

That attempting a 54 yard FG in 40 mph winds is worse than betting against a Sicilian when death is on the line?

Posted by: dcsween | December 22, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"No one should be surprised at the negative statements JLC makes towards Portis. He never gives him credit for playing as hard as any back in the league. I'm surprised he didn't hype up Rock Cartwright's 1 carry yesterday as he does regularly with inything that involves Rock.

Posted by: dcwun"

I love Portis as much as the next guy, but there is no negative statement in stating the fact that Portis' YPC and TDs have tailed off dramatically. That is unless people are disinterested in hearing the truth. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case here.

Posted by: psps23 | December 22, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Portis broke some long runs (not TD's) early in the season before he started to wear down from overuse

How many?

Seriously, How many "long runs" has portis had this season.

I cateorize that as runs over 20 yards. I think it's only like 5.

I appreciate Portis for his work ethic on the field, and his contributions to the team over the years. But he's definitely lost a step and no longer has that breakaway speed like he used to.

I really don't think he has/had as many "long runs" as you do...

Posted by: VTDuffman | December 22, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

qeed qeed

Posted by: dcsween | December 22, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

11 possessions total for us yesterday
8 in our own territory: get 3 points
3 in philly territory: get 7 points.

Short fields make a difference!! Which goes back to pressure on the QB.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 22, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"I'm of that minority that finds Portis, however great a blocker he may be, to be expendable because of his mouth, his nagging injuries, and his huge cap number."

You can count me in that same minority, shaun. Portis has been a great player, but he's hardly indispensable.

"Portis broke some long runs (not TD's) early in the season before he started to wear down from overuse."

He broke some decently long runs, but nothing earth-shattering. This season, the Redskins have the shortest long run from scrimmage of any team in the NFL (at least they did at one point). That has nothing to do with Portis being 'overused.' It has much more to do with Portis lacking the speed to take it to the house at this stage of his career.

Addai gets rested because Rhodes is an excellent back. When the Colts won the Super Bowl, those two got almost equal playing time.

I'm not going to make the absurd argument that Jasno tried and compare Portis to Thomas Jones. But I will say that I see a lot of Ewing Theory potential with Portis...and leave it at that.

Posted by: jcabana | December 22, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

My 2 cents:
The O-line is the problem. Early in the year, they were knocking down the D-line and Portis had plenty of running room. Late in the year, they were getting stood up and knocked back. Sellers tried twice at the goal line and was stuffed. Thomas and Rabach have been blown up and forcing Portis deep on sweeps. Jansen has all kinds of problems in pass protection. It's not the scheme: guys are rarely coming free. It's the line not executing.

My theory is that they're old. Early in the year they're fresh and do well, but as the season goes on they wear down, get knicked, and don't heal as quickly as a 20 year old. The Redskins need to address O-line, specifically center and guards in the upcoming draft. Hopefully Heyer and Samuels can hold down the tackle spots, and Rheinhart will be good enough to start at guard, so they need to draft only 2 potential starters.

Devin Thomas can play. Malcolm Kelly needs to figure out that when the ball is thrown to you, you need to make the supreme effort to catch it. He's only going to get 2 or 3 a game until he proves himself. Thomas figured that out.

Nice block by Sleepy Davis yesterday de-cleating the the linebacker. Gotta take those when you can get them. It wasn't a cheap shot, just a good clean hit.

Philphy-delphia is the dirtiest team in the league. I saw at least 2 helmet-to-helmet shots that looked deliberate, one on JC and another on Moss, that should earn fines from the league office.

Posted by: dpc2003 | December 22, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I love Portis as much as the next guy, but there is no negative statement in stating the fact that Portis' YPC and TDs have tailed off dramatically. That is unless people are disinterested in hearing the truth. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case here.

Posted by: psps23


I'm not saying theat he doesn't wear down. What I'm saying is be critical when it's deserved and give props when they are due. The passing attack is garbage. How do you expect him to run with 8 and nine man fronts? The truth is the only player JLC gives props to is Rock Cartwright. His man crush has made him blind.

Posted by: dcwun | December 22, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Kedric Golston made it through the game? Wasn't he inactive?

Posted by: dcsportsfan13 | December 22, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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