Betts to take third down duties from Portis

Clinton Portis wasn’t happy late last season when Jim Zorn kept him on the sidelines for some snaps in December. 

This time, he’s going to have fair warning.

The Redskins confirmed to the Washington Post Friday that Ladell Betts is going to take over primary duties on third downs.  Previously, Portis rarely came off the field in any situation unless he asked for a break.  (Which rarely happened.)

This move has been foreshadowed all offseason, but it’s interesting to hear the Redskins vocalize their desire to transition to a two-back system.

“You have to make a commitment to it. You really do,” offensive coordinator Sherman Smith said about a two back system.

“If we have 2 minutes and 4 seconds before the halftime, Ladell Betts
should do that,” Smith said.  “That’s another place Clinton can get some rest. So this
is twofold: You want to get Portis rest, but you also want to take
advantage of Ladell Betts. He’s a good player.”

Betts is talented enough to handle the role, and the move should help Portis close the season stronger than he did last season.  It remains to be seen if Portis feels the same way.

Portis has said all offseason he has no problem with coach Zorn, and how he handles a drop in playing time will be his chance to prove it.

25 responses to “Betts to take third down duties from Portis

  1. ffftnet,
    Smith is the OC for the Redskins. Frankly, until I read this article I didn’t know they had one.

  2. Does it really matter? Unless they find a way to take Campbell off the field on 1st down, 2nd down, and 3rd down, it doesnt matter who is running the ball…..

  3. The title of the article should read “Betts to take all duties for Portis after game 6” because we all know that’s when the wheels on ol’ Clinton are rolling off, off and away!

  4. A friend of mine said this, and I totally agree…
    Ladell “Bettis” is a decent runner at the first level, but he’s probably the worst in the league at the second level.
    This will become apparent again.
    This is also why he did so well in Gibbs’s offense a few years back when Portis went down to injury, and Betts essentially put a 1000 yard season together in 7 games. It was a gameplan based on a lot of sweeps, and all the sudden, teams forgot how to stop the sweep for a half season.

  5. Portis’s longest run as a Redskin was his first, for 64 yards. He hasnt broke a run for over 30 yards in what was it, 3 years. He is a grinder. A smaller version of the bus, Bettis, or even John Riggins. Portis has transitioned into that. But as everyone knows, and this is obvious in San Diego with Tomlison too, this beats you down during a season. He needs more rest a game. I bet he breaks a long run because of this more often. He will complain because he is a competitor, and a baby…but trust me guys, this is a good thing and it will make him a better fantasy player option, not worse.

  6. Kleetus Portapotty is good but way too injury prone. And he has to play in that cesspool that is FredEx Field.

  7. portis is the best pass protector of any rb in the game. this will hurt the redskins some of the time when they try to pass on third down. betts is simply not on par with portis in this aspect of the game. however knowing the redskins they’ll telegraph their plays by sending betts in on running 3rd downs, and portis in when they plan to pass on third downs.
    i agree dcfan. when your rb has periods of rest it translates into better fantasy numbers. i’d rather portis getting me 85 rushing yards, and 35 receiving yards with 2 tds every 3 games, for an entire season, instead of having portis have 500 yards in the first 4 games and be useless the rest of the way.


  9. Does this really hurt him much? Sure, he won’t have so many breakout games, but since he won’t get a ton of carries, he’ll be able to go the whole season, instead of dropping off the second half.

  10. C’mon, all you naysayers, this is a good move by the Skins. It utilizes the talents of two very good RBs, and judging by what happened to CP the second half of last year he could use more time on the sideline during game situations so that he doesn’t wear out too soon.
    Gibbs did this same kind of thing for years, with Joe Washington and Kelvin Bryant in particular as 3rd down or “nickel” running backs, and they got some really good results.

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