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Thoughts from inside Arrowhead (Portis deal not looking good IMO)


kleese

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I attended the game on Sunday, and I'm not really sure how much insight I can provide that hasn't already been covered on the board, but I'll try to keep it short and give you my thoughts in "quick hit" form.

--Kansas City is a GREAT city. First time I've been despite my geographic location (NE Oklahoma). We had a lot of fun on Saturday-- we went to the OU-Kansas game at Arrowhead. Terrible game, but a great time. KC offers all kinds of stuff to do and walking around "the Plaza" was a blast--the wife enjoyed that part very much :)

--Arrowhead may be the best stadium I've been to. The sight lines are amazing-- truly not a bad seat in the house. Traffic control was near perfect and getting to and from your seats, concession stands, restrooms, etc... was all quite easy. The stupid security wouldn't let me bring my digital camera inside because it has video capabilities, so I had to spring the $15 for a disposable camera :doh: Our seats were up in the third level, but I actual preffered them to the 5th row seats we had at the OU game. You could clearly see all the action, and with binoculars, it was easy to catch all the sideline interaction.

--KC fans were superb. Tailgate was as incredible as advertsied-- fans were out in droves, and very energetic. Loud as could be when they had to be. A bit too "friendly" for my taste-- I kind of like it when the opposing fans intimidate you a tad.

--During the game, I kept checking Lavar on the sideline. He stood close to Gregg Williams most of the time and a few times I thought he was about to go in. At this point, I've shifted to Lavar's side of the argument-- with the defense DESPERATE to make more plays, it just seems silly to see him on the bench the ENTIRE game, especially when Holdman and even Marshall aren't doing a whole lot.

--The Cartwright fumble was THE PLAY of the game, no doubt about it. The crowd was DEAD during that drive and I truly believe we win the game assuming we at least kick a field goal. Even though we wound up tying the game at 21, that play totally shifted momentum, and kept us playing catch up, instead of taking control. Bad stuff happens that you sometimes can't avoid, but if Rock wants to play, that's simply not something you can do. He wasn't hit that hard. Went from first and ten at the 20 to down 7 points in the blink of an eye. I knew right then that we weren't going to win.

--Portis disappointed me. He wasn't awful, but there were times when there seemed to be some daylight and he just wilted. He's not a power runner-- we all know that, but I'd like to see a bit more grinding from him (more on that later).

--Brunell was incredibly good except for his incredibly bad fumbles, both of which were totally his fault. Gotta be a bit smarter than that Mark. But his decisions and throws were totally on target. He was excellent. Moss was amazing-- talk about a guy that has exceeded my wildest expectations-- dude is a PLAYER!

--Special teams did an awesome job on Dante Hall. Good strategy, even better execution. Frost punted well. Thrash is competent as a returner.

--The game went almost exactly I as suspected it would. The Chiefs were desperate for that game and simply weren't going to lose it as long as we gave them the chances. I was surprised we were in position to take control in the third quarter, but then Rock fumbled, and in essence the game ended right there, regardless of how we rallied.

--I like what I see overall from the team. Such an obvious improvement from last year. We will be in this race right down to the wire-- I have NO doubt about that. But if we wanted to REALLY prove ourselves, we needed to win one of these two games. If you have to lose, you should lose AFC road games, so I'm not concerned with the standings. But these back to back losses leave some lingering doubt, especially seeing we had MAJOR opportunities to win both game. The past two weeks have flashed a bit of the "old Redskins" we've become accustomed to. The Dallas and Seattle wins still trump these losses, but we can't just brush them aside as if they never happened.

--The lack of plays from the defense is killing us. The offense almost always has to drive the whole field, and we never change the momentum in one swoop like our opponent's do. We somehow manage to keep the other offense from dominating, and we're still stout overall on that side of the ball, but at some point, the lack of big plays catches up to you. FOUR straight games without a turnover? Yikes. I love Williams, and understand that he knows more than I do about this defense, and I'm still confident that we have a good unit. But it seems so weird to not be able to find ANY capacity in which to use Lavar. Oh and we miss Springs--- he's a great loss for the defense-- we need him back. Walt Harris is also very good though.

--I was disappointed after the game. It was a long ride back to the hotel. But one thing struck me as I watched the Broncos game. Tatum Bell is doing REALLY well. Mike Anderson combines for a great running game. The Broncos don't miss Portis ONE bit. Not in the least. I don't miss Champ at ALL-- I was always in favor of letting him go. But in hindsight, I think we overpaid for Portis. He's been solid-- above average for sure. But we probably would have been better served to trade Champ for picks, save the cap space, and get a bit younger. That's one thing that I've noticed-- we're really not that young. We have a bunch of players in their prime, and a few at the end of the rope, but very few true youngsters contributing. Portis just hasn't been a game changer for us. If we had traded Champ for picks and drafted a guy like Bell ourselves, I think we'd be just as good as we are now. I'm not "bashing" Portis-- heck, I wear his jersey every week. But sometimes you gotta make tough admissions-- and my admission is that the Portis deal wasn't really bad, but it wasn't really necessary either. I don't think he's doing anything in our offense that your average NFL RB wouldn't be doing.

--All in all, I had a great time at the game and came away with this final observation:

I am 50-50 on whether or not we are a playoff team this year. Our worst case scenerio is 8-8, our best case is 10-6. That's a HUGE difference that will probably swing on the outcomes of our five remaining division games.

I said before the Chiefs game that we'd be 4-2 headed to New York. I stand by that. And then we'll find out a lot more about this team.

The good news is that we're 3-2 after a pretty tough stretch of the schedule. We look worlds better than we did last year. It's clear we're a contender, and we should all be thankful for that.

The bad news is that we still find ways to lose games. One week is no big deal, but two weeks is a trend. It leaves that doubt.

The 49ers come to town at a good time. We need a win and we need a bit of a morale boost. I think we'll get it this week. 4-2 looks a ton better than our 2-4 record of last year, that's for sure.

Had we found a way to get to 4-1 after 5 games, I think we would have served notice that we are FOR REAL-- meaning a TOP contender in the NFC-- a possible 11-5 or 12-4 team. With these two losses, we look more ordinary, more part of the pack.

But let's face it, the five big ones left on the schedule are the ones that have killed us over the past decade. Wait two more weeks and then we'll all know a lot more.

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While Portis has not put up the #'s he did in Denver yet, I still think he is a difference make. His vision has been something that I thought would be better. He is a tough runner who can also make plays out of the backfield. He is also banged up, and was facing a KC D that has been solid against the run. I wish we would run more screen passes, sweeps, and tosses for him. It seems like we have a lot more success with those type of plays.

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Very well written. I pretty much agree with everything you've said. Still holding on to hope that Portis will improve, from either better blocking, better schemes, or maybe he starts improving his balance and vision. He's a heck of a talent, but isn't playing to his potential right now.

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I flat out love this team. I haven't been this excited as a skins fan in many years. Mark and Santana make this team so much fun to watch and Gibbs brings so much credibility and respect to the team.

But on the thing with Portis. He doesn't seem to be the back I thought he was. He is good and the line really is doing a crappy job opening holes....but this stumbling thing has me worried. He really is having a hell of a tough time staying on his feet when he has an opening.

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Well, being "banged up" is part of the problem. I am not questioning the validity of his injuries, but the ability to stay on the field is important. Portis has borken down at one point or another in each of seasons in the league.

The second Brunell fumble was 100% Mark's fault. Carried the ball like a loaf a bread on the scramble. Dumb.

The first one was also his fault IMO, because he needs to feel that pressure and secure the ball more. Allen barely grazed it-- Samules got toasted, but the QB can't fumble every time he gets touched.

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Gibbs said last week that defenses are only slightly beginning to respect the pass and back off on run defense. Seems like we're going to have to establish ourselve as a passing threat for more than three games before things really start to open up for Portis on the ground. And, really, Portis has been about what you'd expect the way things have been going offensively. I've been pretty pleased with him.

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I attended the game on Sunday, and I'm not really sure how much insight I can provide that hasn't already been covered on the board, but I'll try to keep it short and give you my thoughts in "quick hit" form.

Good post, but I think you failed in your attempts to keep it short :)

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Even if Portis isnt busting 60 yard TDs left and right hes a great HB. He runs hard, can burst for 7-10 yards, or a 20+, good first or second down back. He also plays his ass off on the passing plays, throwing amazing blocks all over. Perhaps a bigger more physical back would be a little better suited, maybe not, I love Portis though, and I think we can make him work here. I think we are, in fact. Our offense is puttin up a lotta yards and lookin pretty damn good fumbles aside. If we didnt have the three turnover we would have crushed KC.

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Portis has had 2 100 yard games this season against good defenses. If he finished this year with 6 100 yards games which he's on pace to do I'll be a pleased. What he's missing are the td's and I think thats a combination of playcalling and blocking.....We aren't getting a drive near the goaline from the interior of the o-line and we need to run more stretch plays. I think this could be a big week from him against the 49ers. I can see Gibbs having and efficient passing gameplan this week with a steady diet of Clinton If he can stay on the field for 25 carries this could be a breakout game....

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Guest amaprius

If we can find an O-line Portis will be unstoppable.

MB wouldnt have fumbled if we had an O-line.

Allen would have been stopped

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But on the thing with Portis. He doesn't seem to be the back I thought he was. He is good and the line really is doing a crappy job opening holes....but this stumbling thing has me worried. He really is having a hell of a tough time staying on his feet when he has an opening.

It's as if he gets ahead of himself, excited that there is actually field in front of him, then he falls down. My theory is that his mind is working faster than his feet and that he just doesn't feel at home or in rythym with the oline.

Maybe he should take them all out to a "Portis" style dinner/party and show them the special "stripper pole" in his basement(with two women for each lineman, of course;)).

Something has to give, and soon. He isn't a power back even though Gibbs thinks he's as tough as one. Check out film or pictures of him back when he was in Denver. He's definitely gained 10-20 pounds which also may be a factor in him losing a step.

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It's as if he gets ahead of himself, excited that there is actually field in front of him, then he falls down. My theory is that his mind is working faster than his feet and that he just doesn't feel at home or in rythym with the oline.

Maybe he should take them all out to a "Portis" style dinner/party and show them the special "stripper pole" in his basement(with two women for each lineman, of course;)).

Something has to give, and soon. He isn't a power back even though Gibbs thinks he's as tough as one. Check out film or pictures of him back when he was in Denver. He's definitely gained 10-20 pounds which also may be a factor in him losing a step.

I think him gaining the extra weight is playing a part in him losing his balance so much...It almost seems that Portis is running top heavy...I also think another reason for Portis losing balance alot is the fact that he wears so much padding, especially the pads he wears in his socks over his shins...Dont know if he did this in Denver but it seems weird and could be one of the causes of his lack of explosion...

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Thanks for sharing Kleese.

Like you, I feel that Rock's fumbles was the key play of the game. You could feel it.

Brunell's fumbles, while bad, didn't have such an impact as he was trying to be make plays, and for the most part he did.

Rock's job was to give Portis a blow and pick up a first down. He doesn't drop that, we win. He'll make a play on Teams though and make us forget about it.

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Thanks for sharing Kleese.

Like you, I feel that Rock's fumbles was the key play of the game. You could feel it.

Brunell's fumbles, while bad, didn't have such an impact as he was trying to be make plays, and for the most part he did.

Rock's job was to give Portis a blow and pick up a first down. He doesn't drop that, we win. He'll make a play on Teams though and make us forget about it.

Yeah, but its just bad luck that Rock's fumble ended up as six, and Brunell's didn't. It could have just as easily have been Brunell fumbling on the open drive and KC returning it for a touchdown...just the luck of the draw, really. The same luck that forced Priest's second fumble right into his own teammates hands. Just bad luck!!!

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Great post as usual kleese.

Regarding Portis, I agree that the trade wasn't necessary and that we would have been better of trading Bailey for picks. At the time though it didn't really look like there were any serious takers. With free agency looming, teams were confident that we weren't going to be willing to carry Bailey's franchise dollars and it was that lack of perceived leverage that cost us the 2nd rounder in the Portis deal.

I also think that our coaching staff isn't putting Portis in the best position to make plays. Portis is a tough sob and runs between the tackles better than people are giving him credit for, but at some point we have got to come to the realization that Portis has had his best games as a Redskin when we've gotten him on the outside or when we've run out of multiple receiver sets.

Right now it seems like we're too focused on winning the TOP battle and run up the middle even when teams are stacking 8 guys in the box. We are darring teams to over commit to stop the run but then don't turn around to take advantage of it with play action and quick pitches to the outside.

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--Arrowhead may be the best stadium I've been to. The sight lines are amazing-- truly not a bad seat in the house. Traffic control was near perfect and getting to and from your seats, concession stands, restrooms, etc... was all quite easy. The stupid security wouldn't let me bring my digital camera inside because it has video capabilities, so I had to spring the $15 for a disposable camera :doh: Our seats were up in the third level, but I actual preffered them to the 5th row seats we had at the OU game. You could clearly see all the action, and with binoculars, it was easy to catch all the sideline interaction.

Read this earlier today, and have been thinking about the highlighted comment all day.

If you were prevented from taking your digital (still?) camera in to the stadium due to it's video capabilities, what is stopping fans from taking in cell phones that also have video capabilities?

Might be worth asking the next time you are fronted with this scenario.

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Thanks for sharing Kleese.

Rock's job was to give Portis a blow and pick up a first down. He doesn't drop that, we win. He'll make a play on Teams though and make us forget about it.

I agree. We lost the what was likely a TD scoring drive, gave them 7 points, and the momentum for the rest of the game.

I disagree on two things - the fumbles were not all Brunell's fault; Samuels got abused by Allen. Also, Portis was hobbled, man! Give him a break!

Yes, Portis was hurting a little. - Brunnel can't be blamed when he's got their D-line in our backfield all day. Plus none of our RB's seem to be able to block.

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Great Post......many valid points...on the subject of Portis.....while yards are still measuring stick....ya gotta take in to consideration CP's blocking....I've been pleasantly surprised by his "Team First" attitude...there are many plays, each week, where he's taking on guys much bigger than him and blocking like a maniac.....CP has bought Brunell precious seconds on several occasions......his yards will come....

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