Clinton Portis came on the John Thompson show for his weekly appearance and of course added some more words of wisdom about why the Redskins struggled down the stretch here's a bigger quote from PFT:
“I think we was healthy in the 6-2 span and playing smashmouth football. And through that span of whatever we went, 2-6, I think we just lost the identity of what we were trying to do. I think when the running game was our focal point, I think Jason [Campbell] was playing great, I think Santana [Moss] was playing great and [Chris] Cooley as well and everybody else was getting involved. And once we got away from that and just started slinging the ball, nobody did anything. Jason’s play fell off, my play fell off, ‘Tana’s play fell off, Cooley’s play fell off. So I think we’ve just got to stick with what’s working . . . You know, I mean, that’s on them. That’s on the front office, you know, that’s on them to decide if our offensive line was good enough, if I was good enough, if anybody else was good enough.”I've read the whole PFT article a couple of times just to read the quotes and make sure I interpret them correctly. One thing you have to understand about Clinton Portis that many in the media don't get is that Portis speaks with dry wit and sarcasm. So every comment made by the Redskins franchise rusher shouldn't be take literally.
As for the season for the most part I agree with him to a point. The team was playing strong smashmouth football through their first 5 games. After that, the team really seemed to struggle and it all came to a head at the 6-2 mark vs. Pittsburgh.
Here's what I saw:
1. Injuries: Once Portis got really hurt (I'm talking MCL sprain hurt), there was no run game anymore. Portis came in but was out the next play or two and lacked any significant burst. Betts was still ailing and when healthy still couldn't do much. Alexander was a punchline to a joke, not a former MVP. Rock didn't set the world on fire when he carried the ball a few times either. Thus, no more smashmouth.
2. O-line got old....quick: They really struggled down the stretch in both pass and run blocking. Holes closed quickly and there was little if any consitant pass blocking (maybe Samuels and that was it). And I'm talking our five starters: Samuels, Kendall, Rabach, Thomas and Jansen.
3. No more respect for Jason Campbell: I think initally teams did respect the pass a little and didn't stack the box as much. Giving Campbell a moment to do his reads and find an open guy. Once teams decided to stop the run (the Rams started this not the Steelers). That was it 8 men in the box and the entire scheme fell apart quickly.
4. Zorn and the scheme: It seemed that the Skins became less aggressive as the season went on. What I liked about Zorn was the fearless attitude that the Skins initially played with. However, when he stuck with the run and it failed, it seemed like he had no back-up plan or adjustment. Teams knew that we were going to dink and dunk and played in. The deep pass seemed to either not be called or not thrown b/c (a) Campbell checked down, (b) Campbell was on his back, (C) the skins stuck with short passes to help out options a and b. Zorn is still learning on the job. Not really an excuse but an explanation to how things were poorly handled (including Portis' benching which still is on his mind).
5. Nobody else got open: It was a given that Moss would eventually get double and triple covered but who then would step up as the go-to WR. Nobody. Even Cooley who lead the team in receptions and had a career year in catches would disappear in parts of games.