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Portis Adjusting to New Role

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Running back Clinton Portis addressed the media on Thursday for the first time since coaches changed his role on offense.

Portis is expected to start Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but he could serve in more of a third-down role. Second-year running back Ryan Torain could take more reps on first and second downs.

Asked about his role in the Eagles game, Portis replied: "I'll see Sunday when I get into the game."

Portis has been slowed by a wrist injury he suffered in Week 1, but he has been available to play each game this season.

In last week's 30-16 loss to the St. Louis Rams, Portis had seven carries for 44 yards, with most of the yardage coming in the first half.

During a 27-yard run late in the first quarter, Portis appeared to break free down the middle of the field. As several rams defenders converged on him, he appeared to fall down.

Head coach Mike Shanahan said that Portis fell down because he felt like he did not have the football secure enough in his hand to withstand a hard hit.

Portis was asked if he felt that play was the reason his role changed.

"I have no idea why it changed," he said. "I didn't get the details about it. You can go watch the run over and over again, if I had the chance to do it again, I would do it again because I had five people around me.

"Maybe I could have picked up four more yards, but four more yards wouldn't have changed the outcome of that game. I mean, it happened. It's a situation that's over.

"We went to practice and we started the Eagles game plan. We can't go back and change what happened in the Rams game."

Portis said that his hand felt fine. He has been full-go in practice this week.

Portis said he still considers himself a "feature back.

"I'm always going to feel that way," he said. "I think for myself, I don't think anything has changed."

For the season, Portis has rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries.

He returned to the lineup this season after missing eight games last year due to a concussion.

Portis said he believes he is on the same page as the coaching staff.

He can certainly help the Redskins on third downs. The offense is just 6-of-33 on third-down conversions so far this season, an 18.2 percent clip. Their opponents are 18-of-43, or 41.9 percent.

"I think we've put ourselves in too many third and long situations," Portis said. "By the time the ball is snapped, it's third and seven or third and nine. We have to quit getting penalized. We've had an off-sides here, a delay of game there. They're drive-stoppers.

"When you watch film, it's nothing the defense is doing that's stopping us, it's us stopping ourselves. We have to execute and get out of the huddle faster."

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