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Sept. 23: Clinton Portis


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ES Members and Guests,

We had the opportunity to ask some of your questions of Clinton Portis. He was gracious enough to take time out of his day right after practice on Thursday before going on a break. He was antsy to go, but we were able to get a couple of pages of questions of yours asked of him. Really funny guy. One of his answers will probably inspire some discussion as well.



From Art

I noticed you were on one end of the Gatorade shower given to Coach Gibbs after the Dallas win. You seemed really happy not only to win and beat Dallas, but also for the Coach. Were the players aware of how important the Dallas game was to the fans and the Coach?

Clinton Portis

I don't think we were thinking so much about the fans and the coach at the time—this was an important game for us. It was a divisional game for us, it was a game we needed to win. We wanted to get off on a positive note. It was a great momentum builder and a great start to our season, going into our bye week 2-0 and coming back having Seattle. You don’t want to spend your bye week recovering from a loss.

From ES Staff

How much of the reaction surrounding the QB change reached the team during the prep for the game?

Clinton Portis

It actually did, but whatever happened with that, they kept it downplayed. Nobody really talked about it and the guys went out ... there was never any words exchanged. The guys came out and focused on football. They patted each other on the back, and I’m sure Patrick was happy for Mark after we won the game. Patrick was walking around still smiling so I’m sure he’s fine.

From CherryCola04

How do you feel personally about the whole quarterback situation?

Clinton Portis

I mean, for myself, [it’s] whoever we can win with. I believe we can win with both of those guys, whichever one is in. I believe we can win with Jason also, so we have 3 capable quarterbacks. We’ve got the right mechanics around them, we’ve got the right athletes around them—we just need them to get us in and out of the plays and get the ball into the play-maker’s hands. Whoever’s doing it, we’re comfortable with it.

From riggins44

After the emotional victory Monday night, do you sense a renewed trust by the defense in the offense and Brunell? What did that game do for you in the locker room?

Clinton Portis

I think the defense is starting to feel like, if they go out and continue to play like they’ve been playing, they know they’re going to get production out of us. Our defense knows we have a lot of talent. We just gotta get points when we’re on the field, and we gotta get rid of our turnovers. Just winning this game, for myself, and my team, and this organization to get that from them, who knows where we can go? We got Dallas out of the way, now we’re trying to find a way to get to the playoffs. We’ve still got 14 games left, but its great to be ahead 2-0 right now.

From Heavy Jumbo

Probably the most important question I can ask you as your answer will directly impact what fans think of you … gas or charcoal.?

Clinton Portis


ES Staff

(Mock groan) We’re going to have to talk about that ...

From gladionumero1

Hello my hero. I'm Alessio, an Italian guy very hot fan of Washington and I write from Roma, ITALY. Many, many years ago, when I was child my hero names Earnest Byner; now I'm 30 years old and I follow the Redskins in the same way. I would like to know how much is important for you that your coach (the RB coach I mean) he's been one of the leaders of Redskins like you are now?

Clinton Portis

I think having Coach Byner as a coach—a guy who’s been in this system, a guy who knows what this system can do, who knows where this organization was, he was with this organization during the winning years—he knows what Coach is capable of. I think having Earnest as a coach you get a better feel. Some running back coaches never played running back. Luckily for myself, Ladell, and Rock, we have a coach who played in the same system that we’re playing in now. He gets happy and comes in and puts on his film—slow motion black and white—to try and show us how he ran the play, and I think that benefits us a lot more because we see the patience that it takes and we see the possibilities that come from it.

From Mooby

C.P. thanks a lot for taking these questions. I hope you get 1500+ yards and 10 TDs this year, and have an awesome game vs. Seattle. Now that we have finally gotten the deep ball going, do you think teams will learn to respect the pass offense?

Clinton Portis

Yeah, they’re going to have to, because right now, Santana’s averaging 28 yds a game I think. If teams are gonna get at us and let us win that way, I’m all for it. If not, I’m sure teams are going to realize they’ve gotta respect Santana and Dave and Taylor Jacobs. We just haven’t got that going. And once we put everything together, we still have a long season ahead of us, [but] I’m sure we’re going to have everything working together real soon. Once we get that together, its going to be harder to focus on anybody because we have so much talent and so many options. You want to give me 5 or 6 yds, or you want to give Santana 50 or 60? Its up to you. We’ll take it however we can get it.

From hgodwin2

What do you think is different or better about this year’s offense that makes you think you can improve on last year’s accomplishments as far personnel and offensive scheme?

Clinton Portis

I think the personnel we have right now fits our scheme. You’ve got two guys in Santana and Dave who are just out there to make plays. They’re happy to be out from under the wings of organizations, where they can establish themselves. Dave’s been in New England for so long, he brings winning ways and leadership to this team, which we didn’t have a lot of last year. Then you have Santana, who was being misused at the Jets if you ask me. I always thought he was one of their more established players. You’ve got Santana, who’s been dying for an opportunity to be the “go to guy,” who’s finally the “go to guy” in our system, and as you can see he is making the most of it. That’s opened up a lot of things for myself, and its just a better atmosphere. We’re winning, we’re having fun, the guys get along well ... it was just getting the right chemistry amongst the team here.

From 81 to the HOF

My question is, of all the defensive players you've run against, who hit you the hardest? And is there a particular team out there that you've played against that seems to be more physical than the others?

Clinton Portis

Well, I think the hardest hit I took was probably my rookie year. Marvin Jones hit me. We were playing the Jets up in New York, and Marvin Jones got a pretty good shot on me. But as far as a team, there’s a lot of physical teams out here. Being in the NFC East, being in the NFC period, there’s a lot of physical teams. You just gotta find a way to focus and come out and play week in and week out. Because really, everybody’s physical. Being in the AFC West, it was more finesse at the time, with Kansas City not really having a good defense back then, San Diego having a young defense, and Oakland being disoriented on defense—being out there it was more finesse. But being in the NFC East, man, week in week out you’re facing some [stuff].

From SkinsFanInSC

If you could change one thing in the offensive philosophy, what would that be?

Clinton Portis

I would probably come out and go deep the first couple of plays, and make teams back off, and then start running. I think I would put in trick plays, a couple of flea flickers and reverses, and open everything up.

From airborneskins

Do you feel as though you have a chance at winning the rushing title this year?

Clinton Portis

Yeah, I actually do. I feel as a team we’re better—as a whole, we’re better. And that rushing title, it’s not won in the first weeks of the season. That rushing titles won in the later part of the season, in the grinding mode of the season. Once we get going and once things start panning out, there’s going to be some guys that start off real hot that fade away, and there’ going to be guys who start real slow who come on strong. I can remember back when I was out in Denver, I really didn’t play in the first 5 games when I finished with 1500 yards. Right now, you’re just getting to the grinding period. When it comes down to it, I hope I do.

From SkinsandTerps:

I appreciate that you have become more of a vocal leader of this team. Did this change come about through maturity, hunger to succeed, to fill a void, or was it the coaching staff leading you down this road?

Clinton Portis

Well, it was nothing that the coaching staff asked me to do. It was more my maturity. I just turned 24. This is my 4th year in the league and it was time for me to take on more of a leadership role. You know I’ve had my fun, I’ve been a hothead, I’ve been on my own schedule and I always went out and played the way I know I can. But I never really hurt my team. I found out I can help my team, and my words do mean a lot to my team, that I can fire my team up ... and that’s what I try to do now. My motivation helps out a lot of guys. It was a role that I wanted to take.

You can’t just get thrown into a leadership role. The coaches can say all they want that they want you to be a leader ... [but] if you don’t go out and lead by example and get your teammates to believe in you, you’re not a leader. So, it only comes when you’re in the position. I think my teammates look for me to help carry this organization and this team, and put this offense on my shoulders whenever I can. That’s why when I’m on the field, I’m going to give my all on every play.

From SkinsNut73

My question for you revolves around the coaches you have played for in the NFL. Both Shanahan and Gibbs are proven winners who have led their respective teams to multiple Super Bowls. I was wondering if you compared the two men, in what ways are they alike and in what ways do they differ?

Clinton Portis

I think Shanahan has a more laid-back approach. I think Shanahan knows what he’s sitting on is a great, great system. Whoever came up with that scheme that they run out in Denver, they’re on to something. If [he] can get that system and the defense to respond, he knows he’s sitting on an opportunity to be a champion again. I think with Gibbs coming in, he knows his system is proven, he knows he’s done it before, and he’s dying to show that his system still works. It wasn’t that long ago that Shanahan won with his system. Gibbs being further removed from a championship ... I think the guidance and the opportunity that Coach Gibbs gives you, he’s a workaholic. When you’re there, you work. With Shanahan, you go out, you’re crisp, you’re smooth, no pads, you fly through things, you get your work done, you’re off the field. Here, practice is like a game—you’re full pads, you’re struggling to get through practice. And when you get into the game, you’re still tired from the week ... but I think Coach Gibbs just feels like work is what’s going to do it. And so far, we’re 2-0.

From Pharmaceutical Redskin

Just wondering whether you have retired "the belt" or will you be busting it out later this year?

Clinton Portis

Nah, the belt’s retired, man. I’ve got something better than the belt to bring out. Once I brought out the belt, I think everybody in the world became the champ of something. You got the people’s champ, you got the player’s champ, you got the world champ, you got this champ. You know, I saw Freddy Mitchell with a belt, so I knew the belt had to be played out, ‘cause Freddy Mitchell ain’t done nothing and he’s walking around with a belt on. You know, I’ve stepped my game up and I’m on a whole ‘nother level.

From skinsman4u

Clinton, looks like one difference in our team this year is our ability to take a mistake and not get down on it; instead bounce back from it and respond with something positive instead of a snow ball effect going against us. What do you think?

Clinton Portis

It’s not even that we’re overcoming mistakes that would’ve killed us last year, because last year I think the fight was always there. This year we’re finding a way to win, man, and that’s all it’s about. I think it’s a lot of guys who are unselfish on our team, who don’t care about the stats, who don’t care about the headlines, who don’t care about the fame, who just wanna go out and win. Guys are tired of losing—that’s the difference in our team right now.

From REEM10

My question is about how you feel about your offensive line now that you have a healthy Jansen back at tackle ...

Clinton Portis

Well, we still don’t have a healthy Jansen. Jansen’s got two broke thumbs now. But to see Jans go out with those two broken thumbs, man, and have Casey Rabach come in and be an upgrade to help this line, to get us in the right calls—who knows where we can go? I joke with those guys all the time ... I have fun with the O-line, and I think Chris and Dock and Randy, I think everybody’s taking it personal that people talk so bad about us as a team, us as an offense, us not rushing the ball, having a capable back like myself and not getting across the 1500 yd mark. I think those guys take it personally. They wanna see me succeed and they work hard every day to get me there.

From goskins

It is an honor to chat with you; can't wait to see you run all over everybody. My question: Can you comment on the "expert" opinions from sportswriters that claim you are only a "system" back and not the real deal? Those comments really tick me off and I was curious to see how you felt about it.

Clinton Portis

Well, I don’t listen to experts. That’s what they do. They never played sports. All they can do is sit and watch, outside looking in. The people who play me, the people who know me, they know what type of person I am. A system could never make me. They know the heart that I go out and play with. A system don’t make you pick up the blitz, a system don’t make you go out and give your all, a system don’t make you run into 2 or 3 people [who are] unblocked. It’s the heart, the dedication, and the pride that I have in myself.

The experts, that’s what they get paid for—to talk, to criticize. For myself, I go out and play for myself, I play for my family, I play for my teammates. I’m sure if you ask any of my teammates who people game plan for, who people are gonna respect, it’s me. People game plan for me. My first 2 years in the league, my rookie year, I’m sure I caught a lot of people by surprise. No one expected that. If they did, they wouldn’t have passed on me. My 2nd year, it was a bigger year. But last year, being the transition that it was, leaving and having the expectations, having all the pressure put on, I still came up with 1300 yards.

So, what people say, I don’t care. They got people that had 1100 yards rated higher than me, and I had 1300. I think as a team last year we struggled, as a whole team. So I’m kind of glad that the glamour is gone, that all the pressures gone, all the fame is gone. I’m glad that it’s not “Clinton Portis, Clinton Portis, Clinton Portis,” which allows me to be more of a team player, which allows me to enjoy going out and playing again. Because when you get all the headlines, there comes a time where you really get caught up in all that. I’m glad that it’s happened to me already, and I’m out of that phase of my life and I can go out there and just have fun.

From Postisizzle

I hear you associate with Larry Landover. What up with that?!?!

Clinton Portis

(Laughs) Landover … that’s my sidekick you know. I let him do all the talking to the women. I don’t say much—I play the shy guy and let Larry Landover take over for me.



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