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The Curse of 370 Revisited

Doug Farrar, in this week's Smarter Stats section of The League, continues his examination of the Curse of 370.

Here's an excerpt:

With Clinton Portis on pace for 373 carries, is reducing his time on the field the best (and only) way to go?

Not at all. Portis has exceeded 370 touches (though never 370 carries) in three seasons: 383 in 2004 (10.44% catches), 382 in 2005 (7.85% catches) and 372 in 2007 (12.63% catches). The problem this year is that not only is he on pace for 373 carries in the regular season alone, he's only caught 10 passes in 173 total touches -- a percentage of 5.78. This is baffling especially in an offense with a quarterback who is learning the intricacies of the West Coast system, and the little dump-offs that are such a part of it. Then again, when you consider that new Portis backup Shaun Alexander's receptions dropped every year in Jim Zorn's former home of Seattle from 2001 through 2006, maybe it's not so baffling after all.

So, to review -- 370 is not an absolute brick wall that no back can get past, but it is a fairly reliable indicator of overuse in a sport that regularly chews its backs up with half a care. Clinton Portis has been the Redskins' best player this season, and the Redskins can do better by him without losing a bit of his productivity.

By Cindy Boren  |  October 24, 2008; 12:50 PM ET
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Posted by: M00SE | October 24, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I've also noticed that JC isn't doing the quick dump offs to the RBs that much. Think about how the Eagles use Westbrook -- very dangerous in the open field. In fact, Sellers used to get a bunch of these types of passes last yr. And doing so would give JZ one more club in the bag (and continue to keep the opposing defense guessing). Heck, send Moss and Thomas deep to clear out running room for Portis for some serious YAC.

Posted by: M00SE | October 24, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

i smell an offensive explosion on the redskins side this weekend. 500+ yards? 4+ TD's?

Posted by: FAB88 | October 24, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Can we give up on talking about this 370 Curse? Why bring negative mo-jo into the jibba-jabba?

Posted by: NCICURN | October 24, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I want to see us build a nice lead early and be able to give more carries to Rock and Shaun Alexander this Sunday and Let Portis rest a little. He is a little banged up and we are going to need him big time next Monday night vs the Steelers. I think we can give Portis the ball 20 times this week he can get his 120+ and a few scores and then we can rest him (assuming we have a sizeable lead) I defintely feel that Rock can run all over the Lions anemic defense. I also would like to see what Shaun can contribute.

Posted by: Skins28 | October 24, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Just over 23 is the number of carries per game to get 370 carries for the year.

Posted by: charley42 | October 24, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

This 370 thing is old. Why not 365? Seriously...number is's the hits the guy has taken and CP has been pretty good to avoid them so far.

Posted by: svxcountry1 | October 24, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

F Doug Farrar and the curse he rode in on.

Posted by: tafka | October 24, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Gweez who give rats a** what MM has to say. I all for going after Vinny but also for giving him credit. You have to be fair no matter if you like the person or not. How man 1st rounders haven't produce but people want to give them the another to show what they can do. Do the same with the Skins draft. But most won't because they don't like The Dan and Vinny. In my book that is wrong.


Posted by: icetotalpackage | October 24, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse


I was referring to the line below where he calls Sean La Canfora because he's being so negative. Nothing to do with either opinion.

SportsNation Matt Mosley: (12:53 PM ET ) La Canfora, stop posing as "Sean."

Posted by: Gweez | October 24, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

The schedule has set up pretty nicely. The fact Zorn had 10 days to fix the offense between the opener and game 2 was a big help.

And the Monday night game vs Pittsburgh is followed by our bye instead of a short week.

I think the 370 thing does make a useful point. You can burn out an RB and I don't see why Portis would be any different. Especially since he blocks hard as well.

The game has become a pass first game. One of the consequences of this has been to create a run game with just one featured RB who gets almost every carry. Having just one RB to carry the load means that its very difficult to run over 25 times a game, even if the you have a good run game.

What that means, in this case, is that Portis is likely to be used to the max most every week.

There might be others, but the only team I can think of that does a good job of splitting the carries is Carolina. If Carolina wants to run the ball 45 times in a game, they can do it. The Skins would be well served if they could run the ball 40+ times in some games (think the Rams), but that's not the way this team (or most teams) is designed.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | October 24, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

beep beep news

Posted by: CindyBoren | October 24, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see that. LMAO!


Posted by: icetotalpackage | October 24, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Nice article on CP on Yahoo sports:;_ylt=Anvc02pSMbahCdySPkHfqxFDubYF?slug=cr-portispeaksagain102308&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

I for one have never understood all the hatin on CP since he has been here. He has had like 1300, 1500, 6 or 7 hundred (injury shorten season) and that was playing on bad offenses that had no passing game to speak of.

And if you ask me Denver's running game has not been near as good since he left town. Sure they have had 1,000 yard rushers, but it don't take much in a 16 game season to get a G.

Also since entering the NFL in 02 only LT has had more yardage in the regular season 9,860 to Portis’ 8,533 and that is in 11 more games.

Just glad CP finally getting the credit he deserves this year as one of the NFL's best backs (the best this year!!!)

Posted by: wstclair | October 24, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

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