Here we go, two of my favorite blogs suggested a shift in favor of Ladell Betts to varying degrees so it's time we at least talked about it. I don't have, at this immediate moment, an opinion one way or the other, though perhaps I will by the end. First, from Redskins Insider:
And from Dillweed at Post Game Heroes:
Clinton Portis 104 attempts 406 yards 3.9 YPC 19 long 5 touchdowns
Ladell Betts 44 attempts 126 yards 2.9 YPC 13 long 0 touchdowns
Nothing in those numbers tells me that Ladell Betts has been more effective or will be more effective. Nothing in these numbers do either, though they haven't been updated to include this week's shit sandwich. A more likely candidate here is that the overall run game is a special kind of suck due to the fact that we're missing at various times 3-4 starters on the offensive line which, interestingly enough, has been literally offensive.
I think what we're so pissed off about are runs like this: 1-10-WAS 20 (7:14) 17-J.Campbell pass short left to 82-A.Randle El to WAS 26 for 6 yards (50-M.Vrabel).
2-4-WAS 26 (6:36) 26-C.Portis right end to WAS 21 for -5 yards (50-M.Vrabel, 59-R.Colvin).
If I recall correctly, rather than moving forward Portis started dancing around like a crazy person and walked backwards five yards just in time to get tackled by Vrabel and Colvin. A 6 yard completion on 1st down is a successful play against a bad team, against one like the Patriots it is an absolute blessing. If you want to beat New England, you have to play perfect football, which includes taking advantage of a very convertable 2nd and 4 by moving the ball forward. Instead, you give the ball to Portis who moves us back to 3rd and 10, an obvious passing down. And then this happens:
3-9-WAS 21 (5:54) (Shotgun) 17-J.Campbell sacked at WAS 11 for -10 yards (50-M.Vrabel). FUMBLES (50-M.Vrabel), RECOVERED by NE-59-R.Colvin at WAS 11. 59-R.Colvin for 11 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
If the principals look familiar it's because they are; Vrabel and Colvin tackled Portis for a loss and then they teamed up for 7 points. 3rd and 10 against the Patriots is the kind of down that is asking for trouble anyways. If coaches could just shake up a magic eight ball and spit out successful plays that converted 3rd and 10s against Bill Belichick's defense, they wouldn't be 8-0 now would they? Jason needs to hold on to the ball, but Portis needs to go forward with it (even 1 or 2 yards would set up an uncertain play call on 3rd down forcing the Pats to defend a run or a pass). Although if we're really going to sit here and discuss what the Redskins, as a team, should have done yesterday, you better free up some time.
1-10-WAS 13 (10:50) 26-C.Portis left end to WAS 10 for -3 yards (20-A.Bigby). FUMBLES (20-A.Bigby), touched at WAS 10, RECOVERED by GB-50-A.Hawk at WAS 9. 50-A.Hawk to WAS 9 for no gain (62-M.Pucillo).
As bad as our offense was playing against Green Bay, we could really have used that extra set of downs.
All that said, I'd ask what about Betts makes him look like the heir apparent this year? We have what appears to be widespread panic worthy, systemic failure to run the football. We're averaging 3.5 YPC, with Portis at 3.9 YPC. Even our team total is inflated since poor Jason Campbell, bless his heart, has to flee the pocket fairly regularly and has 20 rushes for 4.6 YPC. [Note: It's just a matter of time, or a function of how many more games he suffers like the one yesterday, until JC starts looking a lot like Mark Brunell. Redskins fans like to think that Steve Spurrier ruined Patrick Ramsey with his schematical failure to protect the quarterback, but in reality Spurrier was just a conduit for ruining; it was those opposing defensive players knocking Ramsey's ass to the turf down after down that affected him as a quarterback. Similarly, you get Mike Vrabel in Jason's face enough, and he'll start slinging check downs. If this coaching staff can't do more to keep JC from being rushed, we'll have to develop another young quarterback in the not-so-distant future. I like the one we've got; let's not allow defenders to ruin him.] As much as I love Sellers and Betts, they've combined for just 191 yards on 63 carries for just over 3 YPC. It stands to reason that teams expect Portis to carry the ball a lot more when he's in the game than Betts (more of a receiving threat) or Sellers (more of a blocking threat) and thus you'd almost expect the numbers to be weighted against Portis.
We are not getting any push with our offensive line nor are we opening holes. Portis isn't helping himself with all this damn dancing at the line of scrimmage, but who has been helping themselves, or this team, rush the ball effectively? Worse than that, the play calling begs questions as well. We're one of the most stubbornly inefficient rushing teams in the league, at (tied for) 7th overall in attempts per game, with 29.9. The other teams that rush as much as us are Minnesota, Indy, Oakland, New England, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, and Tennessee. The difference is every one of those teams is averaging over 4 YPC and we are not. Just below us on the attempts per game are the Giants, Chargers, and Panthers and, once again, they all rush for over 4 YPC. Todd Wade and Stephon Heyer and Mike Pucillo are not the original Hogs. If you can't run the ball, it doesn't make any sense to try it over and over again. No other team in the NFL is as stubbornly committed to running the ball poorly as we are. Try something new in the run game or abandon it; if you can't get more than 3.5 yards per carry, it's better to pass the ball.
New poll is going up since I can't bear to see print related to the Patriots any longer. Vote for whether or not you think Betts should get more carries and provide some insight why or why not below.