Monday, September 10, 2007

The difference between Betts and Portis . . .

. . . is 39 yards and a touchdown. In the off-season, it was fashionable in some circles to doubt the value of Clinton Portis. Some comments on fan forums proposed trading Portis for draft choices, now that Ladell Betts emerged as a NFL starter caliber running back.

Fickle fans prove that Daniel Snyder isn't the only one capable of making dumb personnel moves [I can honestly say that none of the bloggers I follow ever suggested any such thing. If they did, I wouldn't take them seriously as the authoritative Redskinologists they are.]

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Today's story in The Washington Examiner reports that the doubters and haters served to incite Portis to prove them wrong. He made a good start Sunday in the Dolphins game. Portis and Betts both carried the ball 17 times. Betts ran for 59 yards. Portis for 98 and a score. As Rick Snider said in the Examiner story

"Betts is a playmaker that every team loves to have, but Portis is a game-breaker."

Losing CP last year cost the Redskins eight touchdowns, I figure, and at least two games. You can blame the defense for the rest of the '06 disaster.

Portis is reading the devaluation stories as disrespect and he is out to prove the haters wrong. But, in that way that athletes use to motivate themselves, he's seeing everybody as haters, so he's out to prove the world wrong. Great. That can only help the Redskins.

Watch the game in the stadium and you get a different impression than watching on TV with the announcers giving background details. From the stands, it seemed that Betts gained much more than 59 yards and 3.4 yards per carry. Live and in person, he looked better than that.

Nothing about the Portis comments above is meant as a put down of Betts. He's a nice change of pace back who may well extend Portis' career. We are lucky to have him.

One of the conflicts between the Old Ball Coach and the owner was the choice of keeping young running back Kenny Watson or Betts. The OBC wanted Watson [with the Bengals last I heard]. The owner opted for Betts. [I remember reading that account, but won't trouble to look it up.]

I have little respect for the owner's ability to build a winning organization and often point out the error of his ways. Fairness compels me to give him his props when he makes a right call. Betts was a right one.
Also from the stadium, it seemed that Trent Green was completing deeper passes that his stats showed. Cam Cameron made good use of him in the game. Green showed that 35+ year olds can be sharp.

One game does not make a season. I thought the same of Brad Johnson last year after the Vikings game. Johnson looked good on his way to horrible season. But Green causes us to wonder what might have been if the Redskins managed to keep him.

Green was a cap casualty in 1998, with ownership inattention as a contributing factor. The Redskins were in the process of being sold. John Kent Cooke, son of old Jack, but not his heir
for the team, was fighting off the bid by Daniel Snyder's consortium. Team roster was not at top of mind. Cooke lost. Snyder won. Green was lost [signed with St. Louis].

Snyder looked to make a big splash with high profile signings. If Green were here at the time, it would have been him, instead of Brad Johnson, who would have been left unsigned at the end of his contract because the owner preferred the big gun of Jeff George. Everybody in football, save Snyder, knew better than to take George.

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