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Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

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Old 06-26-2005, 01:27 AM   #1
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Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

From the NY Times, requires registration so I'm posting the entire article. Enjoy!


ASHBURN, Va. - As Clinton Portis left here in January after his first season in burgundy and gold, his Washington Redskins coaches hinted at tweaking the playbook for 2005.

In the weeks after he nodded, then shrugged off the whispers, the Redskins' staff overhauled the offense, every move with one goal in mind.

"They asked me what I felt about some things," Portis said during the team's June minicamp. "But when I got back, we had a changed offense."

The Redskins, their coaches pledge and their star tailback seems certain, will be different in 2005, and everyone involved points to Portis as the new offense's fulcrum. To highlight his speed and cutback skills, management signed smaller, faster wide receivers, and the coaching staff designed wider formations that should give Portis more room to run.

Almost anything would rank as progress over 2004, when Washington ranked 30th in yardage and 31st in points among the N.F.L.'s 32 offenses. Portis, acquired in the March 2004 trade that sent cornerback Champ Bailey to the Broncos, posted the poorest season of his three as a professional. He averaged 3.8 yards a carry, 1.7 fewer than the average for his first two seasons, and scored five rushing touchdown, compared to a total of 29 in his first two years.

Despite the ballyhooed trade engineered by Coach Joe Gibbs, Portis, who weighed about 200 pounds all season, looked out of place and misused in a Gibbs system designed for a bigger power runner.

"Sometimes you have to adjust," said Joe Bugel, the Redskins' assistant head coach for offense. "We're used to a 235-pound, 240-pound back. So we opened it up, tried to create running lanes for him. He's quick as a cat."

To help, Washington signed the free agents David Patten and Kevin Dyson, who have Super Bowl experience. On March 9, sandwiched between the two signings, the Redskins traded wide receiver Laveranues Coles to the Jets for Santana Moss, one of the N.F.L.'s fastest players, who also excels in the return game.

Even with the loss off Coles and the absence of receiver Rod Gardner, who has demanded a trade and has not participated in the off-season activities, Gibbs said the team had upgraded the position by adding speed. The Redskins will throw more, and earlier in the game, Bugel said, forcing defenses to pay more attention to receivers on the outside and open space for Portis. Portis could also help as a pass blocker, a role in which he thrived at the University of Miami.

"We're not a clustered offense anymore," Portis said of the changes. "Last year, the receivers, everybody was inside the numbers. This year, everybody is spread out. So it's different."

So is Portis, as Gibbs repeated throughout the full-squad minicamp last weekend. After avoiding Redskins Park for much of the 2004 off-season, Portis reported early in the spring and worked out on site. Mentored by the strength and conditioning coach John Dunn, whose nickname is Mother, Portis said he added 20 pounds of muscle in his chest and shoulders. Rosters released by the team indicated a 10-pound gain, placing him at 212 pounds this month.

Fellow Redskins said Portis's presence at voluntary spring sessions motivated them. An additional boost came during minicamp, when they said they realized he had not lost any of his quickness.

"With Clinton, he told Mother Dunn and the guys, 'Tell me what I need to do,' " Gibbs said. " 'I want to be part of this. I want to be a leader.' Any time that happens, it carries over to everybody else."

The leadership continued on the field, especially later in the spring, when Washington surprised the league by picking Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell with the 17th pick over all. Campbell, who led Auburn to an undefeated 2004 season and won his final 15 games at Auburn, grew up in Laurel, Miss., a town of 18,000 that Portis also called home until middle school.

"He's been the guy who's been helping me out," Campbell said of Portis. "We come from a similar background, so he's always talking to me, showing me things, making sure I get better."

Portis, too, needs to get better, at least statistically. After being named the N.F.L. offensive rookie of the year in 2002 and reaching the Pro Bowl in 2003, he eclipsed the 100-yard mark five times in his debut season with the Redskins. He went seven games, from Oct. 3 to Dec. 5, without a touchdown, and his 3.8 yards a carry for the season ranked last among the N.F.L.'s top 20 rushers.

Now Portis is set on improving on those numbers. The result, they all hope, will be playoff games in January.

"When Coach Gibbs came back, for a running back, he decided to pick me," he said. "We have a lot of talent around me, like last year. Now we're going to expose it."
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Old 06-26-2005, 02:28 PM   #2
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Re: Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

Gibbs is getting smaller receivers to spread the offens more, just for portis. The smaller wrs have worked really well for gibbs in the past. Art Monk is about the tallest wr the skins ever had,but he was surrounder by smaller receivers as a skin.
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Old 06-26-2005, 02:46 PM   #3
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Re: Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

"Washington surprised the league by picking Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell with the 17th pick over all"

And there was me thinking it was the 25th pick!!!
REALLY, do these guys not check facts?
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Old 06-26-2005, 03:02 PM   #4
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Re: Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

I'll believe it when I see as far as changes to the offense goes. I'm sure there will be tweaks, but not sure about a complete overhaul of the offensive philosophy.
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Old 06-26-2005, 03:33 PM   #5
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Re: Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

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Originally Posted by skinsguy
I'll believe it when I see as far as changes to the offense goes. I'm sure there will be tweaks, but not sure about a complete overhaul of the offensive philosophy.



what the article said about the changes in the offense really make sense and they really are just tweaks.
smaller, faster recievers
spread the formations, get the wrs out farther
throw the ball more often on first and second down and earlier in the game
add more zone blocking to utilize clinton's speed and cutbacks


i'm pretty excited to see the offense in action.
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Old 06-26-2005, 06:35 PM   #6
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Re: Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

I have great respect for Coach Gibbs, but I've had my doubts about our offensive scheme since the first Dallas game last year (I think that was the second game of the year), which is when I first thought Brunell should have been benched. I just kept seeing a stubborness and an inability to adjust. So, after reading this article, this it the first time I have come to believe that we will indeed become an offensive force. I like what Portis and Bugel say, as it truly seems that Gibbs is not too stubborn and can indeed adjust:

"They asked me what I felt about some things," Portis said during the team's June minicamp. "But when I got back, we had a changed offense."

Sometimes you have to adjust," said Joe Bugel, the Redskins' assistant head coach for offense. "We're used to a 235-pound, 240-pound back. So we opened it up, tried to create running lanes for him. He's quick as a cat."

"We're not a clustered offense anymore," Portis said of the changes. "Last year, the receivers, everybody was inside the numbers. This year, everybody is spread out. So it's different."
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Old 06-26-2005, 07:20 PM   #7
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Re: Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

So much for the excuse of Gibbs being too stubborn to change....

Sort of sounds like '91....
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Old 06-26-2005, 08:22 PM   #8
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Re: Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

Quote:
Originally Posted by skinsguy
So much for the excuse of Gibbs being too stubborn to change....

Sort of sounds like '91....
Man, Gibbs is all about change, he might have few things that the believes in, like not starting rookie QBs, running the ball more than passing, etc.

But just look at how he completly revamped his offense his first year, impleted the shotgun this year. . .

We are going to be fine, trust me, I just can't wait for that first flea-flicker!
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Old 06-26-2005, 08:27 PM   #9
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Re: Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

Thanks for posting the article Matty.
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Old 06-26-2005, 09:24 PM   #10
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Re: Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

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Thanks for posting the article Matty.
yes, thanks alot matty. that was a good article to read.
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Old 06-26-2005, 10:22 PM   #11
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Re: Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

very interesting matty thanks. i think we will have a better suited offense this season, they are tryiing to play portis' talents as a strength in the system. i can't wait for opening weekend 2005.
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Old 06-26-2005, 10:30 PM   #12
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Re: Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

Very nice article. Interesting that it was neither the Washington Post nor the Wash Times that had the story, but instead it was the NY Times
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Old 06-27-2005, 03:40 AM   #13
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Re: Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

One of Gibbs greatest strengths as a coach his first go round was his ability to spread defenses out and then isolate the running game, I don't believe he will have much of a problem doing it now.

In all honesty even though Gibbs usually had a big back in the past to carry the bulk of the load, my belief was alway's that he may have been better suited with a homerun hitting back like a Portis, reason? Our big backs were so often running through huge holes they didn't have to be break a lot of tackles at the line of scrimmage, but they would be caught from behind were as Portis will take it to the house.

I wasen't the biggest fan of Portis and wasen't high on the trade, and at the time I stated if we are going to bring him in we will have to design a similar blocking scheme for him to be succesful, although I felt the counter trey would be a play that was conducive to his running style, I still believe it is, I just think he was very hindered by our line, Portis can't break arm tackles by D-lineman he just doesn't have the power and so we have to adjust, Portis is a system back, it's encouraging to see Gibbs making that adjustment, now lets hope Gibbs and co. are capable of running a system they are not familar with?
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Old 06-27-2005, 06:06 AM   #14
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Re: Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

can't wait for the season now, this will really help portis and maybe we'll see them go downfield to the WR's a bit more
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Old 06-27-2005, 08:14 AM   #15
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Re: Redskins Redesign Plays to Launch Portis

I found it interesting that Portis has put on some weight. I've heard that Mother Dunn has done a remarkable job with alot of the players. Alot of the players have reportedly rebuilt their physiques under Dunn.
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