So sayeth CNNSI.com on Clinton Portis, who hits #9 on the Top 10 Comebacks Candidates of 2007:
9 of 10
Portis injured his shoulder in the Redskins' first preseason game and was never 100 percent. He played in eight games before breaking his hand, which ended his season. Portis has had other minor health issues, but he should be healthy enough to have another 1,200-yard-plus season.
Even on last year's injured YPC (4.1), Portis would need just 317 carries to surpass 1,300 yards. He had 343 and 352 in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Even if you factor in Ladell Betts having a larger role in the offense, Portis is poised to have a huge year rushing behind our new zone blocking scheme, first recognized against Carolina in week 12, two weeks after CP was placed on injured reserve.
How good was this new scheme? Let's break down the Washington Redskins yards per carry before and after the Carolina game. Before:
- Minnesota - 103 yards on 25 carries, 4.1 YPC
- Dallas - 93 yards rushing on 20 carries, 4.7 YPC
- Houston - 234 yards on 41 carries, 5.7 YPC
- Jacksonville - 152 yards on 40 carries, 3.8 YPC
- NYG - 78 yards on 20 carries, 3.9 YPC
- Tennessee - 125 yards on 26 carries, 4.8 YPC
- Indy - 114 yards on 24 carries, 4.8 YPC
- Dallas - 117 yards on 32 carries, 3.7 YPC
- Philly - 146 yards on 31 carries, 4.7 YPC
- Tampa Bay - 64 yards on 20 carries, 3.2 YPC
- Carolina - 143 yards on 37 carries, 3.9 YPC
- Atlanta - 177 yards on 35 carries, 5.1 YPC
- Philly - 210 yards on 40 carries, 5.2 YPC
- NO - 161 yards on 31 carries, 5.2 YPC
- St. Louis - 176 yards on 38 carries, 4.6 YPC
- NYG - 128 yards on 29 carries, 4.4 YPC
Total - 2221 yards on 489 carries, ~4.54 YPC
Presuming similar numbers for the totals, our Carolina and on rushing YPC would have yielded us nearly an additional 100 yards total through the first 10 games, or about 10 yards a game. That may not seem like much, but remember that all our zone rushing yards were made while transitioning a new quarterback in as starter and sans our starting running back, and there's reason for optimism heading into 2007. Consider the two head-to-head comparisons against Philly and NYG as well. Against Philly we managed 4.7 the first time around and 5.2 in our second go, against NYG it was 3.9 against 4.4. With Jason Campbell more comfortable in our offense and thus better equipped to launch the long ball with accuracy, keeping the defenses honest and the box unstacked, I could easily see us improving on our 8th placed finish last year in YPC. Certainly with CP back we'll have more than 13 rushing touchdowns.