Coach Al Saunders talks at length about Clinton Portis over at the Official Site focusing mostly on how he is familiarizing himself finally with what Portis can do. Some of the quotes I found borderline troublesome, such as:
"He can be a 2,500 all-purpose yard back in this league and that's what you want. You want a running back making an impact in a lot of different phases of the game."
The offensive coordinator would sing the praises of his starting running back, but before you dismiss this as merely gushing, placating praise, remember that Saunders is about the most qualified person in the league at identifying outstanding all around running backs. He was with the Rams in 1999 when Marshall Faulk came very close to that mark (2,429) and was with the Chiefs when Priest Holmes racked up 2,287 total yards in 14 games (over 163 per game, which prorates to over 2,500 over a 16 game season).
Now I don't think Portis will get 2,500 yards -- prove me wrong -- because that's simply too high a number to reach. Not even Ladanian Tomlinson has managed that many and I think he's about the best overall running back I've ever seen. I can't think of any RB who has. But Clinton Portis is getting more involved in the passing game and that is a development I welcome whole heartedly. Saunders argues that running backs should love to catch since it gives them the ball in space. CP's strength as a runner (and he's good at a lot of things) is avoiding tacklers and that means get the man the ball in space. And we are, per the Post:
Portis's progress in that phase of the offense helped Washington win its final four games and clinch the NFC's last wild-card berth. The Redskins (9-7) will face the Seattle Seahawks (10-6) in the first round Saturday at Qwest Field, and Washington's wide receivers need new material to tease Portis...
In 16 games, Portis had 47 receptions -- fourth on the team -- for 389 yards (an 8.3-yard average). His previous best totals were 40 catches and 364 yards. And Portis remained productive as the Redskins' featured running back, rushing for at least 1,200 yards for the fifth time in his six-year career.