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WEx: Portis questionable with bone spurs



Portis questionable with bone spurs
By: John Keim
Examiner Staff Writer
09/25/09 2:10 PM EDT

The Redskins now have something else to worry about: Clinton Portis' ankles. Coach Jim Zorn said Portis is questionable with bone spurs in both ankles.

"It's been happening, not all preseaso, but he's got a couple spurs that are irritating," Zorn said. "There's no swelling. It's hard for him. He needs to rest them."

Portis did not practice Friday and was limited Wednesday and Thursday, but Zorn said he expects Portis to be out there "ripping around." Portis declined comment.

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'Rest' isn't going to do a damn thing for bone spurs - if that's what is really going on with him. I'm pretty well convinced Portis' best days are well behind him. I think he can still be 1000 yd back, but the truth is that that achievement doesn't mean today what it used to. He has lost just enough of a step not to be a risk to break one every time he touches it.

I think the search for his successor has already begun, although unless we've got a hidden gem in Alridge or Mason (and while I like both of them, I don't see stardom there), that player isn't on the team yet.

As for this weekend - I think we've got plenty enough talent even without Portis - if we can open up running lanes that is....
I will always appreciate him though because he went from being a slash and dash runner in Denver to a bruiser like Gibbs asked him to be with no problems. And the blocks he throws are amazing..

He did make a tremendous switch.

In Denver, the guy was almost complete different. Go back and take a look. He was noticeably smaller. Noticeably quicker.

He comes here and, well, he built up his body and took pounding after pounding running behind Gibbs' offense.
This was the true organizational blindspot that was not addressed in the draft or free agency.

There is no back on the roster that is going to replace what Portis brings to the table in 2009.

Betts is 30 years old and hasn't run the ball regularly in 3 years. He has a history of putting the ball on the ground in limited time and has had some injury problems as well. Not great durability when you are only touching the ball 5-8 times a game as Betts has recently.

The other backs are not even in a serious discussion.

Cartwright is undersized and lacks footspeed.

Mason is a slower, less talented version of Portis. He also appears to have linebacker speed.

Newly-signed Alridge is great for a gadget play or two but at 180 nobody is going to put him out there for major minutes.

Looks like we are stuck with Betts if Portis misses time.

If you thought big play potential was missing in the offense, you ain't seen nothing yet.

With Betts or Mason behind Campbell the jig is up.
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How many teams have a back ready to step in and produce at their starter's level though Bulldog? Actually, although whether he could repeat his performance remains to be seen, Betts HAS stepped in without missing a beat and put together multiple 100 yard games. He's not asked to do that when Portis is healthy, but he's not incapable of it. He has had some issues with fumblitis, but he's also gotten the job done on more than one occasion.

I agree Rock never has been and never will be anything more than a journeyman. I think it's way too early to grade Mason. I'm hardly arguing we've got a banquet table set at RB behind Portis, but we're not going to starve to death either.

For starters, some holes to run through would be nice to have so we can fairly assess the youngsters :)
Again, Boone - Betts has not carried the ball from scrimmage regularly in 3 years!

If we had an injury at corner and you were told the backup hadn't played in man coverage in 3 years you would be DAMN worried :)

At 30 most backs are not thinking about taking on a heavier load but rather lightening up and seeing their teams develop a rotation with some fresher legs to get more speed on the field to pressure the edge of the defense.
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I certainly agree that we need youth at RB, and also agree that it's likely neither Mason or Alridge are answers there. But saying we're doomed if Portis goes down because Betts hasn't had to be the man in recent seasons and is older, I think you're overstating things. Portis is 3 years older as well, but he's still a solid back. And Betts wasn't just serviceable in 2006, he ran for over 1100 yds and did it in only 9 games. If he gets some freaking blocking, Betts can carry the load for awhile if necessary. Can he do it for an entire season? I doubt it. Then again, Portis usually can't either.
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The only advantage I see with Betts on the field is that we can use the RB more in the passing game as Ladell is a much better receiver.

But would Zorn be willing to use more of a traditional WCO if Betts was the primary back for a stretch of games?
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This might actually be something of a blessing in disguise. Our OL has been mediocre at run blocking so far, especially on the right side. The less Portis has to get beat up trying to get three yards where there's nothing, the less wear and tear there'll be on him for the following season(s) when we've hopefully rebuilt the OL. He's not what he used to be but he's still a darn good RB. If the bone spurs get him an extra season or two on the back end of his career, then so be it. After all, have you looked at Portis' cap # of late? We're stuck with him for a while so anything that keeps him as close as possible to his current level of productivity is a good thing.
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I don't think the problem is who is behind Portis on the depth chart so much as who is in front of Portis blocking on game day. Portis is a rare back in the vision department and can turn nothing into something by finding a crack or making a hole. So far, no one else on the roster has shown that ability to me at all. They can all be servicable backs with solid blocking but without it they might as well be me running the ball.

Show me a team with great depth at running back and I show you a team that likely has a very solid offensive line that consistently wins the run blocking battles up front.
But would Zorn be willing to use more of a traditional WCO if Betts was the primary back for a stretch of games?
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This might actually be something of a blessing in disguise.
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These two lines made me wonder-could the Portis bone spur situation possibly force Zorn's hand in terms of opening up the passing game as far as a "purer" WCO approach and/or using the pass more often in the red zone?
I honestly don't think Betts gets enough credit. He has decent speed, and is big enough to break a tackle or two. And with limited carries the past two years, I think he's fresher than ever. Yes, he's a bit injury prone, but he played all year in 2006 and had a very nice season.

I think IF Portis' season is cut short, Betts will be a good replacement. I also think a Betts/Mason combo can be effective, especially if the passing game is on point, and the OLine is blocking well.
I wonder if the FO wishes they had drafted Adrian Peterson instead of Landry. Like everyone has already said, think Portis best days are behind him.
Bone spurs?

I'm sorry, but that's not something that just "pops up". Either the team had to have known or Portis kept it to himself

Either situation is unacceptable?
if I remember correctly there was a huge question on Peterson's durability and if he could last a full season.

hindsight is 20/20

There was a question because of the way he runs. At Oklahoma, he broke his collarbone because of his balls-to-the-wall running style. But then again, any RB can get injured pretty easily, so that's really not a reason to shy away from someone. And a collarbone is not a career-threatening injury by any stretch.

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