Clinton Portis: Where Does He Rank?

I have a friend (one who may very well comment on this thread) who simply does not like Clinton Portis as a running back.  Part of me can understand that, but I believe he is missing the big picture.  On another blog, someone else generated a number of valid reasons for expressing a similar disdain that extended beyond the field of play.  All in all, I disagree.  Here’s why (from a comment I posted over at TSF)…


On Portis:

“Portis says he’s happy for McGahee. Yeah, he knew McGahee was fragile, but he swears he was trying to help his teammate, to get him to step up to a challenge, not shy away from one. “Hopefully, some day he’ll realize that,” Portis says.”

I like Portis — from what I’ve seen. It seems like most of the guys from Miami really root for one another, but the spirit of competition is such that Portis stood to lose millions of dollars had he lost his job to McGahee during that championship run. If you recall, that team had five or six guys drafted in the first round. There wasn’t much time for hand holding…it’s not CP’s way. Besides, that wouldn’t have worked on Frank Gore. It would have gone in one ear and out the other.

I don’t think he’s the best runner in the world. He has this habit of falling down before he actually gets hit. He doesn’t maintain balance through the hole in order to make 2nd level guys miss and break longer runs. He’s an excellent blocker and he can catch or throw, but he is what he is….he’s slower than most and smaller than most. He has the success he has because he’s also tougher than most.

I don’t expect Portis to be receptive and groom players any more than I’d expect Favre or another player in this business to. If the Redskins operated like a family and Portis hadn’t played in two systems with an ASSEMBLY LINE mentality about running backs (Univ. of Miami and Denver), I’d say he should be more accommodating. I don’t know where he went to high school, but I imagine they were pretty stocked too. I can’t expect a guy who has always been one step away from unemployment to have a different perspective. It is precisely because of his limited size and speed that he’s never had a moment’s job security.

The dude is 27 years old. He has 7 years in and is about to pass Earl Campbell for career rushing yards. He’s had 3 1,500 yard seasons and just missed another this season. (If he wasn’t benched vs. the Ravens, he probably would have made it.) He’s the youngest RB on the list of active yardage leaders. The next closest guys are 4,000 yards behind him…Steven Jackson (25) and McGahee (27). Ronnie Brown is 27. He has almost 6,000 fewer yards.

From where I’m sitting, given the short life-span of an NFL running back career; given his “roots” in assembly line football (Miami and Denver); and given his unsurpassed success, Clinton Portis has earned the right to be insecure about his standing. He doesn’t get respect commensurate with his accomplishments.

Check the list…

Jason Campbell should recognize that he is blessed to play with a player who relishes crushing blitzing linebackers and safeties; and that he has a teammate who has been durable — over 320 carries in 4 of the past 5 seasons.

If the Redskins want to fix what ails them, they need to look somewhere other than the backfield.


  1. Can’t argue with your assessment.
    I never saw Portis as slow though, at least now when he first came into the league. Maybe that’s changed, since I haven’t watched football in a while.
    Finally, good point about the NFL being a business, not a family. It would take a big man to sacrifice his own livelihood to help another man. It would be the right thing to do, but how many folks would do it?

  2. I read where CP ran a 4.27 in high school. I think it’s a top gear issue. His longest career run is 65 yards – 2nd year Denver. Second longest was 64 yards on his very first carry in DC. He hasn’t popped a big one like that in years.

    Guys who can still break off those 70+ yard runs have another open field gear that CP no longer has. He’s patient to the hole, quick through the hole and powerful on the other side of the hole. He’s not rolling like Parker or AP or Reggie Bush or Slaton.

  3. I think that Portis (along w/ Curtis Martin) is among the most underrated RBs of all-time. He’s been very durable in his career (as aforementioned), which is kinda surprising on one hand but then again, he doesn’t take a lot of hard hits from the opposition.

    I’ve always liked him eversince I saw him play at the “U” and I’ve followed his career since those days.

  4. I agree that Clinton Portis deserves more respect, he’s a cool guy. I heard he’s going to be on some MTV Cribs awards special this Sunday at one. I wonder what he’s nominated for…I bet he has a sweet crib.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s