Scouting the 'Skins Running Backs

Scouting the 'Skins Running Backs

John Keim breaks down the Redskins' situation at the Runningback position.

Starter: Clinton Portis

Top backup: Ladell Betts

Training camp battle: There really isn't one. Barring injuries, the backs should be Portis, Betts, Rock Cartwright and Derrick Blaylock.

Strengths: They have explosiveness in Portis, who also is a good pass protector. Those 10-15 yard runs that Betts had last year will be 30 yard dashes by Portis. Betts proved that he could be a more than capable starter -- some vets have said that for several years. He's a good fit for what Joe Gibbs wants. There's good depth at this position.

Weaknesses: Portis has not been known for his hands, which could be a problem at times. However, the Skins will live with that because most of the passes he'll be asked to catch aren't very difficult. Portis' durability could be a problem, too. We're not thrilled that he had knee problems in the offseason. Not crazy about that shoulder, either. Betts lacks explosiveness, though that's not his game anyway.

Outlook: This will not be a two-headed position, not if Al Saunders has his say. He does not like having two backs share the position; makes it hard to get into a rhythm as a playcaller. And Portis is absolutely the main guy, despite Betts' finish. That said, this position is a strength of the team. If something happens to Portis, clearly Betts can carry the load. There's better depth with Blaylock, too.

Better than 2006?: Yes, if Clinton Portis is healthy. If that's the case, watch out.

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