"Open competition" looks like a ploy to wake up Clinton Portis

The arrival in Washington of running back Willie Parker, who has done the rags-to-riches-to-rags thing over the past six years, has prompted the scratching of heads throughout the District of Columbia and beyond.

With Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson already on the roster, why sign a guy who fell out of favor in Pittsburgh due in part to a recent propensity to fall down upon first contact?  The word on Parker is that he lost his will to run between the tackles, that he always looks to bounce outside, and that opposing defenses have figured it out.

Still, the Redskins have decided to give him a shot. 

It’s flat-out an open competition,” Parker’s agent, Doug
Hendrickson, tells the Washington Post. “That’s what they told Willie.  It’s a flat-out open
competition as to who’s going to play and who’s going to start.  They
said that’s the way it’s going to be.”

That message to Parker could ultimately be aimed at getting Portis to take seriously his obligation to earn his pay in 2010, even though past salary-cap maneuverings have given him nearly $6.5 million in guaranteed base salary.  It also gives the Redskins some leverage in the event that Larry Johnson doesn’t work out, or finds himself in trouble off the field, again.

That said, we’re not prepared to write off Parker completely.  He could be perfectly suited to coach Mike Shanahan’s one-cut, zone-blocking attack.  If Parker trusts that the hole will open and focuses first on hitting it and then hitting high gear, he could thrive.

As he told 106.7 The Fan on Friday, “I’m a zone runner.  I love the zone.  I love the scheme.  I love what [Shanahan] brings to the table.”

Still, it’ll be difficult if not impossible to justify carrying Portis, Johnson, and Parker on the active game day roster, given that the third man on the depth chart usually plays special teams. 

If, in the end, Parker is cut, he’ll be better suited to land with a new team than if he continues to sit at home.  He’ll be working out with a team throughout the offseason and, presumably, training camp and the preseason.  If/when he’s cut, he’ll walk out of the facility with plenty of knowledge regarding the offensive playbook and attack.

And that could make him more attractive to teams like the Giants and Eagles.

28 responses to “"Open competition" looks like a ploy to wake up Clinton Portis

  1. Hey, what a great formula! Three has been, troubled, malcontent types, and you mix them all together and you get one excellent Running Back that you will be glad to call a Redskin.

  2. When Portis is wearing his clown suits, does he also arrive in a tiny car, while wearing huge floppy shoes?

  3. This signing is such a strange move, I cannot for the life of me figure out why. What about Oline? What about any other position than another old RB? We could use Anthony Alridge in the back as the change up back.
    This one has me scratching my balls.

  4. Larry Johnson is the only capable back on this squad. You can’t wake up a stiff like Portis and Parker will be hurt before the opening game. The potential for politically incorrect transgressions in DC is too great for Johnson not to get in trouble. The ‘skins are going to need a fourth back, probably Westbrook.

  5. What better statement could Shanny make than to actually cut Portis? Would be the ultimate this is my ship and if you don’t like the way I’m sailing it, get off statement. Portis may get a complex though since it would be the second time Shanny would have run him out of town.

  6. well, I hope the ploy works… I have to say Portis is probably the best of the 3 and Willie was brought in as insurance for Johnson… now hopefully we can focus on Oline and open some holes for these guys… as well as keep Jason upright.

  7. after listening to brian mitchell this morning, i like this move.
    i agree the OLine needs to be addressed but who is there to sign out there? i’m putting my trust in shanny. as long as they don’t draft a QB with the 1st pick overall, i’ll be happy. okung or berry or trade down. this draft is deep with OTs so i think shanny will draft the best available player with the #4 pick.

  8. By bringing in two backs who have had success on incentive-laden deals, I hope Allen and Shanahan put the pressure on all three to find two who will hit the hole and hit the hole hard.
    You can cut any of the three to carry two into the season. Johnson and Parker make money only if they are on the roster and Portis makes money regardless.
    Hopefully this signals that the Redskins are going to use this draft to set the groundwork at 0-line.
    Please, for the love of George Allen, NO CLAUSEN!!! Hail!

  9. The one back left with nothing in the tank is Larry ‘I’ll spit in your face, b***h!” Johnson. This miserable excuse of a human being is the first one cut.

  10. I like the move…now Redskins are three deep at Runningback and all of them when healthy are pretty good. this makes a first round draft of okung make more sense, and colt mccoy or terrence cody second round. Shanahan has something planned, he just doesnt wanna put it out there. im liking the way this is all looking and i believe haslett is running the defense good. Cant wait for the 22nd!!!

  11. I think they keep all three. Why not? Lots of teams are finding success in the so called “three headed attack” so why is it a big deal? The Redskins have needed someone with some speed to add to the team and Willie Parker fits that. I think experience is what this team needs if Portis gets all pissy he can be cut or traded or whatever. Its like everyone forgets what happened last year when Portis was gone. I dont think the team rushed for over 100 yards in any game after Betts was injured.

  12. a:) get these boys an o-line: watch out!!!
    b:) leave the o-line alone: fire shanny, bury jason campbell and burn the stadium to the ground.

  13. I would hate to see Willie leave Pitt. He’s a great player that was screwed over by Bruce Ariens. It would be worse if he went to the Redskins and had to play for that “too short of a man” Daniel Snyder. Ugh, he’s a moron.
    Where ever Willie lands, I hope him the best. Tomlin, keep Willie!!

  14. Yeah, I’m sure after a few weeks in camp Parker will have that playbook engraved in his brain and will be able to recite it verbatim for any other team that picks him up.
    I don’t think they call him Fast Willie for his comprehension speed.

  15. “I would hate to see Willie leave Pitt. He’s a great player that was screwed over by Bruce Ariens. It would be worse if he went to the Redskins and had to play for that “too short of a man” Daniel Snyder. Ugh, he’s a moron.
    Where ever Willie lands, I hope him the best. Tomlin, keep Willie!!”
    Did you not read the beginning of the article? He’s already a Deadskin….

  16. 3 has been running backs, behind a crappy o-line, on a team with no QB. Sounds great to me!

  17. robert ethan what are you talking about??
    where does it say that he will be able to recite the playbook verbatim to another team??????
    it says that it could make him more valuable to another team in the division because he will have knowledge of the redskins playbook and that is undoubtedly true if you know anything about how the nfl works…..

  18. This is vintage Shanny / Bobby Turner. The guy who starts this season may in fact not be the guy who finishes the season. The guy who finishes may be some dude we haven’t even heard of. You never know.
    Portis can do this in his sleep. He just needs to apply himself. Not sure if he will.
    A few months from now look for headlines like “Parker Not Happy Depth Chart.” or “Johnson & Portis Held Out of Practice.”
    Shanny and Turner are about to push all those dudes, hard. They have no problem turning up the heat before training camp.

  19. @Playoffs!?
    STFU you Cowboys fan wannabee. Where do you live? Youngstown Ohio? Stay out of our NFC East discussions you worthless Shit.

  20. Portis needs to work with a speed coach and seriously hit the weight room.
    Good luck with that!

  21. Out of all 3 RB’s, Larry Johnson is far and away the one that will get cut
    Anyone see his last year? He has no burst, no feel, and whines

  22. W.E. Willie will not go to the Redskins. The WORST team ever since that loser owner bought them. For some reason he just can’t BUY himself a superbowl win… or even a winning season! LOL

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