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Redskins.com: Staying Patient in the Long Run


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Notes From Friday's Practice

September 24, 2004

By By Gary Fitzgerald

Staying Patient In the Long Run

The Redskins' offense compiled 108 rushing yards in last week's game against the New York Giants. That stat is somewhat misleading, though, since 44 of the yards came on quarterback scrambles.

Assistant head coach-offense Joe Bugel said earlier this week that the Redskins' rushing attack is a work in progress.

"We have some ways to go in the ground game," Bugel said. "It doesn't come overnight. Hopefully it'll show up this week."

Clinton Portis is off to a strong start this season, rushing for 217 yards on 49 carries, a 4.4 yards per carry average, against two of the toughest defenses in the NFL. But subtract his 64-yard touchdown in the Tampa Bay game and his rushing average drops to 3.1 yards per carry.

Against New York last Sunday, Portis rushed for 69 yards on 20 carries.

Bugel said that many of the offense's run plays--including the counter trey--require a degree of patience from the offensive line and the running backs. It takes time for the linemen and the running backs to get on the same page so that the back can quickly identify the rushing lanes.

"[The counter trey] is a highly disciplined play," Bugel said. "It takes patience on everybody's part. It doesn't come overnight, but once it starts clicking, it's one of the prettiest plays we've ever run around here."

Said Portis: "We just have to stick with it and believe that this system is going to get us where we want to be. There are a lot of looks we're going to see that we haven't seen because it's the second week of the season. We're not getting our timing right on some of them."

"Our defense has been carrying us for the last few weeks and it's time for us to step up."

Bugel continues to stress the fundamentals of the blocking schemes, not only among the linemen and running backs, but also among the wide receivers.

"Clinton and his blockers know each other," Bugel said. "They know that if you can get a helmet on everybody, Clinton can hit a home run and go 80 yards in the blink of an eye. Not only does our line understand this, but our wide receivers understand this. If they go downfield and block somebody, Clinton can go the distance. That's the mentality you have to have in this system."

QB Update

Mark Brunell practiced on Friday for the first time this week, taking a limited number of snaps behind center. Patrick Ramsey took the bulk of reps, though, and he would likely start on Monday night if Brunell is unable to play.

"It feels better than yesterday, so I'm pleased with that," Brunell told reporters after practice.

Brunell has been nursing a hamstring injury suffered in last Sunday's game against the New York Giants. Friday was the first day this week that Brunell had been able to practice.

"Patrick got the majority of the work, but I was able to get in there and throw it around and hand it off," Brunell said. "I felt real good about the practice."

Gibbs indicated that his decision on the QB starter could be a game-time decision.

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