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The Portis Dilemma

Clinton Portis managed just two rushing TDs over the final eight games of 2008.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - For the first half of the 2008-09 season, Clinton Portis was one of the best, if not the best, running back in the NFL. He accumulated more than 1000 yards from scrimmage in the team's first eight games to go along with seven touchdowns.

At that point of the season, there probably wasn't a running back around, Adrian Peterson included, who you would have made a trade for - even up. Ok, maybe for Peterson.

Unfortunately, if you held on to Portis, you were extremely disappointed in the second half of 2008. Over the final eight games, Portis managed just 543 yards and two rushing TDs. That is a drop in rushing yards of 43% and a drop in touchdown production of 72%.

As it seems to happen to Portis and many other smaller running backs, as the year goes on, injuries seem to mount up. This time it was a hip flexor, ankle and then finally a sprained knee which kept Portis from practicing during the week and being himself on Sunday.

So which player will show up in 2009-10?

The one who is a top-10 overall player - an All-Pro, or the injury-prone running back who splits time with LaDell Betts?

It's a huge question for fantasy owners, particularly the ones drafting at the back end of the first round.

Here is the latest word out of Redskins camp: "The guy that's been standing out to me is Ladell Betts, said offensive coordinator Sherman Smith. "To me, he's stepped his game up. He's preparing like he's a starter. He's taken a leadership role, which I'm not saying he wasn't a leader before, but I just think he's a very good player. He's jumped out to me."

Sounds like Betts might get a few more carries this year. Of course, we're not even on the practice fields yet, so take the comment "with a grain of salt."

Clinton Portis Career Statistics
Year Team GM Rush Yards Rec Yards TDs
2002 DEN 16 1,508 364 17
2003 DEN 13 1,591 314 14
2004 WAS 15 1,315 235 7
2005 WAS 16 1,516 216 11
2006 WAS 8 523 170 7
2007 WAS 16 1,262 389 11
2008 WAS 16 1,487 218 9


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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