The Owner's Favorite
- Jun 30, 2009
- Reaction score
- Raleigh, NC
This ought to kick up some commentary; from Dan Steinberg;'s D.C. Sports Bog. Once again I'm going to take the liberty of putting in bold the statements that jumped out at me.
Here's the link to the article.http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2009/11/theismann_wants_betts_in_randl.htmlTheismann wants Betts in, Randle El out
(By John McDonnell - TWP)
Joe Theismann has a reputation as an incurable optimist, and, sure enough, he was finding great hope in the offensive line Monday morning. Still, he's shown increasing willingness to challenge the Redskins' status quo this season, and he took on two frequent fan targets this week: Clinton Portis and Antwaan Randle El. Took them on hard, as a matter of fact.
The Portis stuff came early in his segment with Larry Weisman, when the Redskins.com columnist mentioned that the Redskins are "good enough to be better than they've been, and they're good enough to compete in every game."
"Did they feel like something was holding them back?" Theismann said, in the mother of all set-ups.
"You know, some guys don't want to say it, but you can tell that it's there," The Sourcerer the team's editorial director replied. "And I think that they think that Clinton Portis has been holding them back just a little bit, in that he doesn't explode into the hole. There's been this, I don't want to call it a subliminal feeling, but this feeling that he hasn't given everything that he could give to this team in terms of coming in in shape, in terms of practicing. And the problems you have on that offensive line, you know how important it is to be out there and understand the timing and the flow of the game. Ladell Betts is always there."
So a Redskins employee is sort of reporting here that some players in the locker room feel Portis hasn't given his maximum.
"Well we heard that also from Clinton, 'Hey look, I don't really need to practice, I know where I have to be,' " Theismann said. "I said it on this show after he made that comment, I thought your offensive line has to know where they need to be so that you can be where you need to be. He's coddled all through training camp. It's like, 'Oh, let's not [tick] Clinton off.' And it's one of the things that Jason has mentioned. Matter of fact, when we had the Night of Legends, with Sonny, Jason and myself, Jason mentioned the one thing that he felt like was missing on this football team was discipline, in that everybody needed to be held accountable in an equal fashion. Well gee whiz, if you can't read between the lines on that...."
(Other views: "Betts Isn't Better Than Portis, People," from Mister Irrelevant. "Betts Not Better Than Portis, But Certainly a Better Fit," from Stet Sports Blog. "Ladell Betts should start the team's next game in Dallas and every one after that if he's healthy. Clinton Portis should sit, and heal, and come back in 2010 with some motivation to practice and play," from Russ Thaler.
My own view: if offensive linemen say it's easier to block for someone they practice with, and coaches say it's easier for them to block for somebody they practice with, maybe we should believe them.)
"If he's healthy -- and that will probably be the question of the week -- does Ladell start against the Dallas Cowboys?" Theismann finally asked.
Weisman's answer was that the Redskins would likely stick with a healthy Clinton Portis, a view later endorsed by Jim Zorn at his Monday news conference.
"I don't want this to be something where Ladell came in and did a wonderful job -- good grief, he really did a tremendous job -- and yet have Clinton lose his job because Ladell came in in support," Zorn said. "[Portis is] our running back, and who knows what kind of game he might have had."
Theismann, though, would lean the other way.
"To me, it isn't even a question," he said. "I would think it wouldn't be a question.
"But then again, I would think that Antwaan Randle El returning punts was not a question either," he continued, in a refrain that every single breathing Redskins fan would agree with. "But forgive me if I was wrong, but I looked up yesterday and I saw the ball hit the ground and travel about 15 yards towards our goal line, and the man returning the punt was Antwaan Randle El. When does this stop? When does somebody -- and if it's Coach Zorn -- when does he decide that it is not in the best interest of this football team to have those things happen with that individual returning punts? And I can't say it enough, I love the guy, he made great plays yesterday, he's tough and everything, but he hurts this football team in the return game."
"I'm mystified as to why they stick with it," Weisman agreed, "and when you talk to Jim about it, he says he doesn't want to expose starters."
"Oh baloney," Theismann said. "Like Wes Welker for the New England Patriots? i'm telling you something, that's bad coaching.... Why wouldn't you just stick Santana Moss out there and let him go? What are we protecting? Are you protecting an investment? Are you protecting a player? I'm just sorry. It's like the Ladell Betts thing. To me, you earn the right to be on the field or you play yourself out of the ability to be on the field. If coaches don't make that decision, then they're not good football coaches. They're not making the right decision. They're not making decisions that are in the best interest of a football team winning. And this is the thing, I looked up and saw that yesterday, and I'm thinking Why? Why does this happen?"
Randle El's 5.2-yards-per-return average is 47th in the NFL. His 11 fair catches are sixth in the league. To the question of "Why does this happen?" you got me.