Last year the Redskins had at least four different backs start in the Redskins backfield: Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright, and Quinton Ganther. At the offset of the free agency period, the Redskins let go of two of those backs: Betts and Cartwright. With the addition of Larry Johnson last Friday, it was announced that Quinton Ganther was signed by the Seattle Seahawks. Currently the notables on the squad are Portis, Johnson, and roster fodder Anthony Alridge. Does this current stable look like a good foundation to enter the 2010 season? Most probably not, and in all likelihood the Redskins look to continue upgrading this position.
Clinton Portis is the incumbent starter, but that will not be a given as we more deeper towards the preseason. He still has the ability to make plays, and should be a good player if he comes to camp in shape. The one knock against him may be his inability to find the endzone. Portis only scored twice and both those scores came in the same game versus the Carolina Panthers (one running and one reception). If he intends on being the guy for the Redskins he must reclaim his nose for the endzone. This is what made him valuable to Redskins his first few season here in DC. If Portis cannot punch it in, they may have to look elsewhere.
Larry Johnson, is a big bruising back, but his best days were at least 3-4 years ago. In 2010, his best game was against the Cleveland Browns, but that came as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. The Redskins will look for him to be a big downhill running, able to get the short yards the Skins so desperately need. Some think he may the starter. I am not so sure, and I think that is more contingent on how Portis’ offseason goes and if he in shape. I think Johnson and Portis would be two good complimentary backs to each other and if both can co-exist then we will have something here.
Anthony Alridge is unproven here in Washington, not sniffing the field in 2010. He is a speed guy, and with the Skins failing to secure Darren Sproles, he would be a “diamond in the rough” type back. What the Skins need is a back who can catch out of the backfield and cash in on huge gains. I am not ready to endorse Alridge as this kind of back, but I am hoping he can fill that role. In any case, the pre-draft mini camp should tell this coaching staff something about the backs they do have. However, I do expect them to take a chance on someone in the draft as the future of this position beyond this season is also in question.