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Clinton Portis, Ryan Torain practice

By Barry Svrluga

Redskins running backs Clinton Portis and Ryan Torain, who are both dealing with injuries, dressed for and participated in practice Monday as the team returned from the bye week, but Coach Mike Shanahan said it was far too early to tell if either would be ready for the Nov. 15 game against Philadelphia.

"It's really hard to tell right now," Shanahan said. "I think I'll get a better feel over the next few days."

Portis suffered a torn groin muscle on Oct. 3 at Philadelphia, a game in which Torain wore down the Eagles in the fourth quarter of what became a 17-12 win. Torain carried 18 times for 70 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles, and with Portis out at least a month, he became the Redskins' featured back.

Torain's best games came in a Week 6 loss to Indianapolis, when he ran 20 times for 100 yards, and a Week 7 victory at Chicago, in which he carried 21 times for 125 yards - though he did fumble twice. But on the final play of the first half of an Oct. 31 loss at Detroit, Torain suffered a hamstring injury that kept him out the rest of the game.

Torain, who is clearly reluctant to give out any information about injuries - per Shanahan's wishes - practiced full-speed Monday. He acknowledged that the bye week had helped his hamstring heal.

"I was out there running plays, doing what the coaches asked," Torain said. "Just out there working hard."

In the loss to the Lions, the Redskins had just two running backs active - Torain and Keiland Williams. It's possible Washington will activate newly signed James Davis - who is on the practice squad -- for the Philadelphia game, depending on the health of Portis and Torain.

Shanahan said before the bye week that he thought Portis, even when he is healthy, would need a week of practice to work himself back into shape.

Torain has 91 carries for 391 yards, a 4.3-yard average, to go with three touchdowns. Portis has 49 carries for 195 yards, a 4.0-yard average, and two touchdowns. Williams has just 10 attempts for 38 yards and a touchdown, but as the third-down back, he has caught 14 passes for 85 yards and a score.

By Barry Svrluga  | November 8, 2010; 4:01 PM ET
Categories:  Clinton Portis, Running backs, Ryan Torain  
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Next: Team hopes Brandon Banks will be back in 2-3 weeks

Comments

Is Anderson Russell a FS? Also, doesn't his name sound backwards?

Posted by: roccoskins | November 8, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

A Portis post? time to reprise my BYE week, ZEKE'S UNIQUE PERSPECTIVES

Posted by: zcezcest1 | November 8, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

ZEKE’S UNIQUE PERSPECTIVES brought to you by the fine people at Yahoo!

Clinton Portis is done as a #1 RB. He showed little in 2009, and he wasn’t burning up the place in 2010 before his injury. Many RBs hit the wall at age 30, Portis hits that number next Sept 1.

Occasionally, a Tomlinson turns back the clock or a Thomas Jones ignores the calendar and keeps on churning. More often, you get Shaun Alexander. A beast at age 28, he tiptoed out of football at 31.

I’d like to highlight life starting at 30 from another perspective. Kevin Faulk. From age 30-33, he averaged 700 yards and 4 TDs a year. 55% of those yards came as a pass catcher. He averaged 8yds/catch and 5yds/carry, with about 45 catches and 60 runs per season, just over 100 touches. Portis had 133 touches in 2009 before his concussion, 53 so far in 2010. Of those 186 touches, only 13 were pass receptions.

Faulk is the prototype 3rd down back, used mostly in passing situations. There is a lot to being an effective 3rd down back; Portis would need to rethink and refocus his skill set for it. One area where Portis is already very effectively is in pass protection.

Faulk was never a #1 RB, his career looks similar before and after age 30. Faulk gets about $3mil/year and is probably overpaid. He is now 34 and on IR.

Portis was a top RB getting top money. If he wants to continue to play in the NFL, he will need to find a new role -- he isn’t who he used to be. It is a huge change in mindset, going from being ‘the guy’ to being a role player. Some RBs have a nice second act, most don’t.

Portis has a reason to consider a 2nd life as a 3rd down back that most guys don’t. The Hall of Fame. He has a coach that can put together a playoff team. Postseason success is not on CP’s resume, but it is on the minds of HOF voters. Portis is high on several all-time lists, but not high enough. He is #48 in yards from scrimmage. There are no recent HOF additions below him on that list. Add a Faulk-esque 2,700 yds, and Portis is in the hunt, top 25-ish. Another 1,300 rushing yards gets him to the fringe of elected/ electable players. 16 more TDs gets him to 96. All the eligible guys with 100 TDs are in the HOF or getting serious current consideration. Ricky Watters, with 91 TDs, isn’t getting considered.

So why do I bring this up now? Now is the time Portis should be seriously considering this. It is his turning point. If he wants the 3rd down back role, he can be very effective. But … is he studying pass patterns? Working on his hands? Watching film on good 3rd down backs to pick up tips? Calling Kevin Faulk?

Portis will need to decide soon which direction he wants to take his career. As a role player, he could be valuable here or elsewhere. If he wants to be #1, he won’t be of much use and he’ll be asked to tiptoe away … unless he gets kicked to the curb.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | November 8, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

My prediction for our Offense next year.

Qb: Mc5, Dennis Dixon, T. Jackson, a rookie, Purple drank, or Beck.

RB: Torian, James Davis and a rookie.

O

Posted by: roccoskins | November 8, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

O line: Trent, Mankins, a rookie, a rookie/free agent, and Jammal.

Wr: Julio Jones, MK12, Santana, and Armstrong.

TE: Cooley and Davis

Posted by: roccoskins | November 8, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The image I have of Portis, unfortunately, is that he is a great blocking back and a person who will fall down when he expects to be tackled. The image I have of Torain is a runner who will run over would be tacklers, especially if they try to arm tackle him. So, play Portis on passing plays and Torain on running plays. After watching Philadelphia beat Indianapolis, with Vick at the helm, and looking at the rest of the schedule, and thinking about the Redskin injuries and the disconnect between McNabb and Shanahan, regrettably, I do not envision more than one win in the remaining eight games. I hope I am wrong.

Posted by: nmyricks | November 8, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

The image I have of Portis, unfortunately, is that he is a great blocking back and a person who will fall down when he expects to be tackled. The image I have of Torain is a runner who will run over would be tacklers, especially if they try to arm tackle him. So, play Portis on passing plays and Torain on running plays. After watching Philadelphia beat Indianapolis, with Vick at the helm, and looking at the rest of the schedule, and thinking about the Redskin injuries and the disconnect between McNabb and Shanahan, regrettably, I do not envision more than one win in the remaining eight games. I hope I am wrong.

Posted by: nmyricks | November 8, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes ... but can a swallow with a coconut tied to each foot fly from Paris to London ??? Bring me some shrubbery!

Posted by: pejochum | November 8, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Translation: Portis and Torain will play on Sunday.

Posted by: jboogie1 | November 9, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

ZEKE’S UNIQUE PERSPECTIVES brought to you by the fine people at Yahoo!

"Clinton Portis is done as a #1 RB. He showed little in 2009, and he wasn’t burning up the place in 2010 before his injury. Many RBs hit the wall at age 30, Portis hits that number next Sept 1."

What's so unique about that opinion? Everyone knows he's not who he qas 5 years ago!

As far as being "done" in any way, put him behind a decent offensive line with a good blocking fullback and everyone would suddenly be talking about the "resurgence" or "renaissance" of Portis (see Tomlinson in NY).

If Portis ran behind the Jets or Giants O-Line, he'd be a Pro-Bowl candidate.

Posted by: jboogie1 | November 9, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

James Davis is very good....he should be on the roster and do good things to the skins...time to retire Portis.

Posted by: scottpapex | November 9, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

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