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Portis, Betts: More than Just Carrying the Ball

The Clinton Portis watch will be on full blast this week, with us schlubs analyzing his every step and positing whether he will be back to play Sunday against Dallas. But to me, the biggest factor is not Portis's ability to run the ball, nor that of injured back-up tailback Ladell Betts.

What's most important is who is going to help pass protect if Portis and Betts cannot play. Both are recovering from second-degree knee sprains - Betts also suffered a significant hamstring strain in his injury, which has kept him out a month - and it may be that neither is quite ready.

That would leave Shaun Alexander and Rock Cartwright as the available running backs, and that means a significant dropoff in pass-blocking help. Portis is as good as anyone in the game in this regard and sacrifices his body willingly and whole-heartedly to protect the QB; Betts has become very stout as well in the past few seasons.

But Alexander was never quite as adept or proficient at it - something these coaches know well from their time with him in Seattle - and Cartwright is a smaller guy who just has not been asked to do it much. He'll give up his body to make a play in an instant, but he hasn't had much experience doing it. When he was in the backfield there were a few protection breakdowns in the last game.

Jason Campbell is coming off a game in which he was sacked seven times and hit five more. The Redskins had massive problems picking up and compensating for the blitz. Dallas is certainly struggling, but one thing the Cowboys can do is rush the passer. They rank fifth in the NFL in sacks and have guys, like DeMarcus Ware, who have given the Skins fits at times.

The Cowboys have struggled in coverage lately, too, and that may put even more pressure on them to attack the QB. Watching the Pittsburgh film will no doubt light a fire under their coaches and players, seeing the potential to wreak some havoc.

Don't get me wrong, there is a serious dropoff in terms of running explosiveness once you get past Portis and Betts on the depth chart, but maintaining a commitment to the run despite some tough sledding is often enough to keep a game manageable. If you're left with Alexander and Rock, in no way do you need to abandon the ground game. (Dallas has allowed 4.2 yards per carry, which shouldn't scare anyone).

But there is no way to replace the sense of security Campbell would feel with Portis or Betts back there with him as a last line of defense, especially against this opponent and especially with the images from that Monday night game against the Steelers still so vivid.

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 12, 2008; 11:12 AM ET
 
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Next: Campbell Says It's a Must-Win Game for Skins, Too

Comments

SELLARS!!!

Posted by: alex35332 | November 12, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Speaking about #56 let us not forget, since his hit on Shaun Alexander in that playoff game a couple a years ago he has not been the same either

Posted by: GreatOne1 | November 12, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

You know, this is just going to be a heck of an interesting game.

F Dallas

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | November 12, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I think if Portis doesn't play they should definitely use the shotgun more than they have.

Posted by: joeblazin | November 12, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Put Sellers back there, and let him pass protect. I will take Sellers over Ware anyday

Posted by: GreatOne1 | November 12, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I never saw anybody from the team refute LaVar's claim that the parties had verbally agreed to a bonus which the team then omitted from the contract.

So yes, the agent was a dope... but the villain of the piece was and remains the front office.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | November 12, 2008 10:45 AM |

Agree to disagree.

No, and you'll never hear Coach Gibbs refute Arrington's b/s rant, either. These sorts of things aren't settled in the press, and that's a sign of how wrong Arrington was in trying to bring his case through the Washington Post.

Arrington's agent was barred from representing players for two years and you think the "villain" is the front office? This franchise went all-in for Arrington and gave him a huge contract, which he signed, and you think the "villain" is the front office?

And, by the way, I recall they did write a new contract which gave him half the bonus that he claimed he should have gotten. He never saw a cent of it, though, because he got out of his contract when it was clear that he couldn't play disciplined football.

Has anyone visited Arrington's bar? Be interesting to know what that scene is like.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | November 12, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Damn.

Where are all the Cartwright flag bearers?

Posted by: RedDMV | November 12, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Also remember that the year we had the arrowhead throwback helmets we played dallas in the only game I ever saw 2 teams in home colors, (us in our reds and them in their blues)

Posted by: alex35332 | November 12, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I remember the contract deal was a little different. Arrington had a deal, and was renegotiating it to bring down the cap like players do and convert a chunk into bonus money. And then he renegotiated and that money was no longer in the renegotiation.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 12, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see the all burgundy unis against Dallas.

Posted by: RedDMV | November 12, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see the all burgundy unis against Dallas.

Posted by: RedDMV

I'd like to see the throwbacks, actually.

F superstitions. Those were the nicest uniforms in the league last year.

Posted by: psps23 | November 12, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I think that you will see the all reds again. Though I heard a horable idea somewhere that someone thought they should take the 2 stripe pattern of the legs.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 12, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Where was this vaunted Cowgirl pass rush the last time we played them, stop hyping this sorry ass team we beat them last time with all there starters fully healthy.

This time around we are going to beat them even worse, do not think for one second the Cowgilrs have the players that the Steelers have.

I hope Jessica plays he throws more interceptions then any QB in the league.

F-F-ing Dallas and there sh!tty team.

Posted by: Flounder21 | November 12, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

+++I think if Portis doesn't play they should definitely use the shotgun more than they have.

Posted by: joeblazin ++++


Well they'll certainly be using the punt formation more than they have.

Posted by: TheCork | November 12, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

We can also run cooley or yoder as flanker to block on the blind-side. That could help for some plays, and create an opportunity for a screen later in the game.

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | November 12, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Sellers could help out. Also using move 2 TE sets will help. Keeping out of 3rd and long will be key.

Posted by: TWISI | November 12, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

+++I would like to see the all burgundy unis against Dallas.

Posted by: RedDMV+++


Naw, let's see 'em really shock everyone and have them in Maroon and Black with a big "Z" on the helmets.

Posted by: TheCork | November 12, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Not going to see throwbacks this year. They would have had to register it with the NFL and they did not. I think thats gonna ba a 1 every 5 years thing. for the 80th aniv I would like to see us in the old fether up the back helmet, allong with those jerseys that have the sholder stripes ah la USC.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 12, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone visited Arrington's bar? Be interesting to know what that scene is like.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | November 12, 2008 11:28 AM

I live about 3 minutes away from the joint. It turns into a lounge/club type scene after dark. People basically go there to be scene for $20 - $50 entrance fee depending on the night and/or event......

Posted by: 4thFloor | November 12, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Cindy Boren | November 12, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"To feel the competiveness"? No, old guys don't need to feel the competiveness. They have a hard enough time trying to feel the essential things. Competiveness at that age is certainly something you could do without.

Posted by: RedDMV | November 12, 2008 11:27 AM |


Red,

I hardly ever take people to task about what they post here, but about this subject, you are totally clueless. Just because some is old does not mean that they do not feel the fire to compete. Perhaps with some age, you will gain some more wisdon.

Posted by: Markin21132 | November 12, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Also remember that the year we had the arrowhead throwback helmets we played dallas in the only game I ever saw 2 teams in home colors, (us in our reds and them in their blues)

Dallas home colors is there White JErsey you clown... How many years have you watched the NFC East play? you sound like your about 3 years old

Posted by: ashsmith2483 | November 12, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Here are some power rankings. Please remember... powerrankings=powerrankings.


http://www.profootballtalk.com/2008/11/11/week-ten-interactive-power-rankings/

Posted by: Gweez | November 12, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Mos def, F superstitions.

I'd like to see any throwback from any era. I like the unis in the their first super bowl. Wasn't it gold pants with burgundy jerseys?

something that i'm not feeling is the talk of wearing those wretched black jerseys that they have in stores like Champs or Sports Authority.

I think it cool to modify the uniform, thats why I F's with the all burgundy joints. But to change the colors completely... is--well "poppycock".

shoutouts to the PDX...

Posted by: RedDMV | November 12, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

agree with red and nate...

gibbs coming back provided him with exposure again not to mention a built-in sponsor in Fedex.

and the whole contract thing...as i understood in my law class...word can be a bond too but it's very hard to prove in the court of law...thus written contracts. and all indications are that skins promised lavar something and tried successfully in cheating him out of it...

btw...dow jones is below 8500...i say buy...

Posted by: dealer1 | November 12, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Not going to see throwbacks this year. They would have had to register it with the NFL and they did not. I think thats gonna ba a 1 every 5 years thing. for the 80th aniv I would like to see us in the old fether up the back helmet, allong with those jerseys that have the sholder stripes ah la USC.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 12, 2008 11:45 AM |

Alex,

You may be correct but you said the same thing about the Burgandy on Burgandy and they had those on last week.

Posted by: Flounder21 | November 12, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Wow, t_e, that's a hell of a defense. "The front office felt so bad about ripping off LaVar of a promised bonus that, after a ton of sturm und drang, they magnanimously agreed to give him half of that bonus." What a bunch of sweethearts they are!

Posted by: NateinthePDX | November 12, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I mean home color in the way that its clasically meant. And thanksgiving games dallass always has a blue jersey, usually those tard ones with the whitet sleves.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 12, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

RE Gibbs coming back to coaching.
Apparently he still had the itch. Before he came back to Washington, he actually owned a piece of the Falcons and was getting ready to take over coaching them due to the firing of Dan Reeves. It just so happened that Spurrier quit at the same time, so he sold off his ownership piece of Atlanta, and came to the Skins because that's where his heart was. Snyder, being Snyder, made him an icing on the cake kind of offer for the 5 mil per year. Although he was getting paid handsomely, it was never about the money. I remember him saying at the time of his re-hire, that it was all about the burning desire to coach again....it outweighed the enjoyment he got from nascar....

Posted by: dlhaze1 | November 12, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

++++Arrington's agent was barred from representing players for two years and you think the "villain" is the front office? This franchise went all-in for Arrington and gave him a huge contract, which he signed, and you think the "villain" is the front office?+++---talent-Evaluator

While this helps confirm how far in the tank you are for the redskins front office--hey, there's a recession, you have to protect your employer--I couldn't agree MORE with you. (I MEAN it. I'm not doing a McCain in Western Pa. impresion)

LaVar Arrington was one of the all time Washington Redskins disappointments in my book. Supposed to be the next LT, he ended up the next ET. (The playbook was an alien language to him. )

When he wasn't hurt or out of position, he was a good but hardly great linebacker. Then again, that was such a rare occurence there's almost not enough data to be sure.

The few times I've suffered through his insufferable arrogance when I've heard him on air, I've yearned for the quiet humility andverbal reticence of Tony Kornheiser.


Posted by: TheCork | November 12, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

True I did say that, but I have heard Vinny and Larry the tool answer the question 5 times between the two with the same response.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 12, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

dealer1,

Do you sign contracts without reading them? even if you were promised something verbably would'nt you still read the thing to make sure that it was in there.

Stop crying with Lavar he is gone and is still trying to get noticed by calling out the Skins, grow the F up Lavar and get on with your miserable life.

Posted by: Flounder21 | November 12, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"To feel the competiveness"? No, old guys don't need to feel the competiveness. They have a hard enough time trying to feel the essential things. Competiveness at that age is certainly something you could do without.

Posted by: RedDMV | November 12, 2008 11:27 AM |


Red,

I hardly ever take people to task about what they post here, but about this subject, you are totally clueless. Just because some is old does not mean that they do not feel the fire to compete. Perhaps with some age, you will gain some more wisdon.

Posted by: Markin21132 | November 12, 2008 11:48 AM

LMAO...

mark, I know that you're twenty one thousand one hundred thirty one years old and all, but seriously guy, the old competiveness comment was meant as a joke.

Posted by: RedDMV | November 12, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Here's what I found from the archives -- a story from the Richmond Post Dispatch by Paul Woody:

The dispute came after Arrington had agreed to an eight-year, $68 million contract with the team in December 2003. Arrington was adamant that he was to receive $6.5 million of that in the form of a bonus in 2006. The team was just as adamant that the bonus was never a part of the contract.

Arrington will not get the $6.5 million, nor will he get a new contract. But the agreement gives him the right to void the remaining years on his contract if he makes the Pro Bowl in two of the next four seasons.

The Redskins will have the option of keeping Arrington under contract by paying him a $3.25 million bonus.

Arrington also could earn $1.6 million if he plays on 98 percent of the special teams. He rarely appears on special teams now.

The figures were first reported on the Washington Post's Web site. They were confirmed by a league source.
--------------------------------------------

So, Nate, you're wrong. The team "was just as adamant" that there was no bonus. And Alex, it wasn't about rewriting an existing contract. It was his second contract with the team.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | November 12, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Also they would be hyping and still selling any alternates that they wanted to use this year. Notice that the only throwbacks available at the redskins store are remaining overstocks? Though I think NFL.com still has them and may buy one as my next custom jersey, my old one's lettering is starting to fall off.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 12, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Red, I attempted to post a response on Gibbs but it may have gone the way of so many lost comments... something along the lines that we obviously have differing opinions on Gibbs' motivation, but it's really hard for me to think Gibbs' primary motivation for coming back was financial, which was the gist I was picking up...

I would guess his primary motivations were: genuine love of and loyalty to the team and its fans; acknowledgment that the team really, truly needed a change that he was the best person to provide; the challenge, the opportunity to do well and maybe, just maybe, get another ring.

Sure, he was richly compensated, and sure, that was part of his decision-making process, ensuring he received fair market value as the greatest coach in franchise history, winner of three rings, and etc...

Sorry, I know this is boring as hell.

F Dallas. Let's do to them again in our building what we did to them in their building... only pile on a lot worse. Don't let this game come down to a damned offside kick.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | November 12, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"To feel the competiveness"? No, old guys don't need to feel the competiveness. They have a hard enough time trying to feel the essential things.
Posted by: RedDMV |


Red,

I hardly ever take people to task about what they post here, but about this subject, you are totally clueless. Just because some is old does not mean that they do not feel the fire to compete. Perhaps with some age, you will gain some more wisdon.

Posted by: Markin21132

You GO girl!

First of all the Dizzard is wrong.

Second he's a Puzzlepate because not being old he has no clue how us Old farts feel.

Third, Ageism is the least sensible "ism" around, because all of the age haters either end up old themselves, or if Karma exists, dead before they get there.

Posted by: TheCork | November 12, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Did I just say "offside kick"? Pretty sure that would be illegal.

Onside kick. Onside kick.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | November 12, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

If disagreeing with you is wrong, t_e, then I don't wanna be right.

:)

Posted by: NateinthePDX | November 12, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Lets see Randle El do the Wildcat!!
Put the Caveman in the Cave!!
JC throwin in the Ozone lair!!
Skin Scalp the Barber!!
TKO on T.O and I'll see you at the Romo!!
*skritch,skritch,skritch*

Posted by: frak | November 12, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

i don't want to F superstition. our team isn't that good that they don't need luck on their side.

Posted by: dealer1 | November 12, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

++++dealer1,

Do you sign contracts without reading them?++++---FLOUNDER

Actually, yes. NO ONE reads all the legal boiler plate they force you to agree to every time you download software, and when i was in the news bidness I had an agent I trusted and let her do the heavy lifting.--CORK


+++Stop crying with Lavar he is gone and is still trying to get noticed by calling out the Skins, grow the F up Lavar and get on with your miserable life.

Posted by: Flounder21 +++


Another Front Office drone heard from. But again, you can rag on LaVar all you want. I welcome the opportunity to agree with you.

Posted by: TheCork | November 12, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Wow, t_e, that's a hell of a defense. "The front office felt so bad about ripping off LaVar of a promised bonus that, after a ton of sturm und drang, they magnanimously agreed to give him half of that bonus." What a bunch of sweethearts they are!

Posted by: NateinthePDX | November 12, 2008 11:51 AM

Strange reading of history, there Nate.

I don't think the front office "felt bad" about anything. They wrote a contract and, upon his agent's advice, he signed it.

As it turned out, the way he played he wouldn't have gotten the bonus that he claimed he was due, nor would he have gotten the bonus that the Redskins gave him in the rewritten contract. Arrington bought out his contract so that he could become a free agent and he got a big payday from the Giants.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | November 12, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

+++Dallas is fifth in the NFL with 26 sacks. Of course, even that isn't always enough; Dallas had five sacks against St. Louis a few weeks back, and still lost, 34-14.
Jason La Canfora+++

Yeah, but three of those sacks were after the game and involved the Dallas Cheerleaders, so the stats are skewed. And if you’ve ever had your stats skewed, you’d know what I mean.

Posted by: TheCork | November 12, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Cork,

I think if the contract was worth Millions of dollars you or your agent would be reading the whole thing even the mumbo jumbo part.

Posted by: Flounder21 | November 12, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

+++Oh man, I'm beginning to get nervous for this game. If we lose, I say we all panic and turn on each other.. who's with me?

Posted by: Gweez++++

Hey, I don’t like your attitude, Punk. Stand up and let’s go outside and settle this. What? You ARE standing…?

All seriousness aside, Gweez, don’t never change none. You’re like a breath of Fresh Smog in this toxic atmosphere.

Posted by: TheCork | November 12, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I have a hard time envisioning LaVar Arrington being miserable.

Does he flick the lights on/off at night? Does he begin to cry when he hears the victory song on WPGC?

He played college footbal--must've got some education in happy valley.

He played in the NFL. True, it was short, and oft-injured, but he did gain notoriety particularly amongst a certain fanbase, for essentially ending the career of a most hated QB among that fanbase.

While I'm a fan of more her body than her face (classic example of a buther face), he did "date" Serena Willams for a bit.

He opened up a sports bar in the DMV. Even if it doesn't do that much business, it still does that much business because it's in the DC, VA, MD region.

Posted by: RedDMV | November 12, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

MOFO type dropping comments today. Snyder is a tool, but Lavar's agent blew that one.

Posted by: chrislarry | November 12, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

+++Cork,

I think if the contract was worth Millions of dollars you or your agent would be reading the whole thing even the mumbo jumbo part.

Posted by: Flounder21 ++++

Part of the trust I had with my agent is that she would read the mumbo jumbo--and in fact wrote and negotiated much of it.

THAT is an agent's job and legal responsibility. They are either lawyers themselves or have staff attorneys or contracts with outside firms to cover the legal aspects of the contract.

And lawyers are EXPECTED to go over the fine points of contracts. Have you heard of a little thing called "Billable Hours?"

LaVar's agent is to blame, IMO. LaVar has every expectation that his interests would be protected. I don't like LaVar for other reasons--his mouth, his Ego and mostly his underperformance as a Redskin.


Posted by: TheCork | November 12, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"I would like to see the all burgundy unis against Dallas.

Posted by: RedDMV | November 12, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse"

NO WAY!!! Did you see how horribly they played in those unis? Please, Skins, stick with what was working!

Posted by: Lisa_R | November 12, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Cork,

Well for once we are in complete agreement.

Posted by: Flounder21 | November 12, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The skins have lost in all color combinations, so it does not matter what color they really wear

Although I vote for Burgundy on Burgundy for the remainder of our home games this year.

Posted by: GreatOne1 | November 12, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I am supresticious with sports by nature...fear and respect the jinx....but Unis don't fall under that category for me.....

Posted by: chrislarry | November 12, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't care if they wear pink dresses as long as they kick the Cowgirls ass.

I would like to see a uniform design change not color so much but newer design would be great.

Posted by: Flounder21 | November 12, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I am supresticious with sports by nature...fear and respect the jinx....but Unis don't fall under that category for me.....

Posted by: chrislarry | November 12, 2008 12:23 PM

So, you're going to be sticking with the brown on white and yellow on white Pampers for a while?

Posted by: talent_evaluator | November 12, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

beep beep

Posted by: CindyBoren | November 12, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I heard a rumor that we we're going to re-sign Leigh Torrance to play RB?

Posted by: cej75024 | November 12, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why people here would defend Arrington.

He's attacked the credibility of the organization, when he should have been firing his agent, he was a MAJOR, EXPENSIVE disappointment, and now he calls a man who led us to three rings and reinstilled some character into our football team, a coward.

Arrington should talk. He got up there at Taylor's funeral and went on about healing and all that, only to do a drive by via the media just a year later. Since he's such a man, he could always have told Gibbs he was a coward to his face when he was here....instead, he went for a bigger paycheck with another team he would greatly disappoint, and was gone.

So Lavar? F off. You did little to justify what pay you received, and if you want to throw rocks at a glass house, at least stick around and face the music.

Posted by: shaunsherman12 | November 12, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Today's Power Rankings = LaVar Contract Missing Bonus talk

Posted by: 4thFloor | November 12, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

A standard NFL Player agent commision is like 3%. For 3% of $68 Million dollars, I could read all the boilerplate.

I have no idea what really happened, but I can imagine a scenario where the numbers guys were all throwing different bonus/salary/incentive amounts, and the two sides miscommunicated the final understanding of the agreement. I don't really believe the team changed the terms in the hope that they would get away with something... you don't get very far by anticipating that kind of incompetence.
But could the agents have realized their error and tried to deflect responsibility? Could the agents have been afraid -- physically afraid -- of Lavar?
You betcha!

Posted by: daggar | November 12, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

JLC, you are insane if you think that pass blocking is more critical vis-a-vis our RB's in this game. 26 and 46's ability or lack thereof to play (read: RUN THE BALL) is far and away the biggest issue on either side of the ball. They run well, they won't be teeing off on JC with 200 jailbreak blitzes.

Posted by: Notorious_LMG | November 12, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Betts can't pass protect either.

Posted by: gregskins | November 12, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

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