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Portis Aims For Another Fast Start

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Clinton Portis expects more opportunities this year, both in the running and passing games, as the Redskins adjust to the West Coast offense.

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Of course, the Redskins are hoping that Portis can get off to another fast start when they host the New Orleans Saints this Sunday in the first home game of 2008.

Portis has played in four home openers at FedExField. Three times, he's proven to be a fast starter.

His best such effort? Week 1 of 2004 was an outstanding opener for Portis and for the Redskins.

In his first game for Washington after coming over from Denver in the trade involving Champ Bailey, Portis carried 29 times for 148 yards as the Redskins edged Tampa Bay 16-10.

It was the 500th win for the franchise, achieved in the first game of Joe Gibbs' second stint as head coach.

What's more, the first time Portis touched the ball in a burgundy and gold uniform, he ripped off a 64-yard TD.

In the 2005 home opener, Portis had 121 yards in a 9-7 win over Chicago.

In last year's first home game, the 16-13 win over Miami, Portis came up with 98 yards and a touchdown.

Only Minnesota, in a 2006 Monday Night contest, has been able to contain Portis in his first home game in the Washington portion of his career. Coming off a shoulder injury, Portis carried 10 times for 39 yards and a touchdown as the Redskins fell 19-16 to the Vikings two years ago.

This Sunday's game is Portis's first against the Saints. He was on injured reserve the last time--December 2006--the Redskins played the Saints. He did not play the Saints as a member of the Denver Broncos from 2002-03.

Last week at Giants Stadium, Portis led the Redskins' ground game with 23 carries for 84 yards. His longest run was a 23-yarder in the third quarter.

Otherwise, it was a disappointing performance for the Redskins' offense, which managed just 209 total yards and 11 first downs.

On Wednesday, Portis joined Jason Campbell's media session and started fielding questions of his own.

Portis joked that if Campbell were president of the United States, then he would be vice president.

Why?

"I want to be behind the scenes. Let him get all that criticism and I'll try to clean it up," he said.

Laughter all around, of course.

Joking aside, Portis was asked if the offense had something to prove this Sunday against the Saints.

He replied: "Well, if the Saints offense comes out and has a bad showing this week, then everybody will be saying they're terrible, too. Every week is different.

"The Saints are a great team and they have a lot of talented players. They're playing great ball right now. They're 1-0 and they're going to come in and try to keep their streak alive. Hopefully we can disrupt their dreams early and come out with a win."

And if past performance in home openers is any indication, Portis will certainly play a big part in that effort.

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