Redskins Notebook

Portis Takes Off Out of The Gate

By Nunyo Demasio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 27, 2005

Clinton Portis burst through a crevice on the left side for seven yards after receiving a handoff in Washington's first offensive play last night. The rush attempt matched Portis's previous total of carries this preseason: one.

But on the first drive against the Pittsburgh Steelers  and the rest of the way -- Portis easily made up for his sparse minutes to enter the game.

After Portis left the game for good in the second quarter, he had eight carries for 48 yards, averaging six yards.

On the sideline, Portis wore a burgundy cap backward with a white towel on his shoulder, only expending energy to cheer teammates.

"We know Clinton is a great back," said right tackle Jon Jansen, "and I think we've got a pretty good offensive line. So putting those things together, I think we can expect big things from him this year."

With only one exhibition game left (Thursday against the Baltimore Ravens), Coach Joe Gibbs intended to get Portis as many carries as possible.

Portis didn't show any rust despite going against Pittsburgh's stingy defense, ranked no. 1 in the NFL last season. Before last night, Pittsburgh had allowed only a total of 26 rushing yards in the first halves of their first two games.

But last night Portis showed burst and power to surpass that figure in Washington's first drive. He went 32 yards on only five carries.

"It was good" left tackle Chris Samuels said about Portis's carries. "Clinton is very talented back, and we look forward to him going out there and having big games every week."

On the second play of the drive, Portis went up the middle before being halted after only two yards. After receiver James Thrash converted a third-and-one pass, Washington went back to Portis from its 30-yard line. Portis jutted 14 yards through a gaping hole on the right side created by tackle Jon Jansen and guard Randy Thomas. To punctuate the play  his longest of the game -- Portis placed the ball on the ground before spinning it.

The Redskins went back to Portis for two more carries totaling nine yards. But on third-and-one from Pittsburgh's 47-yard line, the Redskins were called for illegal substitution. And the drive died on Ramsey's incomplete pass on third-and-six from Washington's 48-yard line.

The Redskins finished the game with 166 rushing yards on 41 attempts as Ladell Betts (nine carries for 41 yards) and rookie Nehemiah Broughton (12 carries for 46 yards) chipped in. "We're just looking to be physical," Jansen said, "and we were having some fun with that tonight."

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