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Betts Works to Establish Himself at RB

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(Sorry in advance if this has been already posted)


Betts Works to Establish Himself at RB


By Jason Gould

Editor, Redskins.com

In his rookie season in 2002, Redskins running back Ladell Betts showed flashes of promise. His running style and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield illustrated that Betts likely will compete for significant playing time in 2003.

After a year in head coach Steve Spurrier's offensive system, Betts has been able to learn the intricacies of the offense. From running plays to blocking schemes and running routes, Betts has gained a comfort level he did not possess in his rookie campaign.

"It's a lot easier this time around," Betts said after Washington's Monday morning practice. "Last year it was a matter of going out there and trying to learn on the run. Sometimes that caused me to be hesitant because I really wasn't sure what I was doing. Now I'm able to go out and play naturally, and that allows me to use my ability because I know what I'm doing."

The Redskins are in the midst of their final group of coaching sessions. The team is scheduled to practice through Thursday. The sessions are not open to the public.

At running back, Washington appears to have a group of players who can help the team. Along with Betts, Kenny Watson, Trung Canidate and Chad Morton all are competing for playing time.

"All of a sudden we're overloaded at the tailback position, and we only have one football," Spurrier said earlier this offseason. "Our players are going to have to be a little bit patient with who gets the football. We have some strong competition at tailback. We'll see how it works out."

Said Betts: "Competition brings the best out in everybody. You can't be afraid of competition if you're going to play football."

Betts began to establish himself at the end of last season. He rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown against Houston on Week 16, then capped the season with 98 yards on 17 carries against the Cowboys. Betts finished with 65 rushes for 307 yards in 11 games. He also caught 12 passes for 154 yards.

"I've adjusted to the speed of the NFL game," he said. "After a year of learning, I'm able to react and put myself in better position to make plays in the running and passing games. Towards the end of last season, I started to feel comfortable and I was able to run the ball effectively. Hopefully, I can play a bigger role in the offense this season."

Betts had a standout career at Iowa, starting 43 of 46 games and rushing for 3,686 yards. He is the first player in Iowa history to lead the Hawkeyes in rushing for four consecutive seasons.

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Since there is only one football around, I hope that Ladell has it at short yardage and goal line plays. He's fast, a goodf receiver, but most of all the one back able to pound between the tackles, when needed.

He may turn into another Gerald Riggs, but NFC East teams need a back like him in November and December.

It's a tough call with so many good backs. I hope that we keep all four and only keep two TE.

...the there's Sultan on the practice squad.


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