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Portis Looks to Get Rolling In Detroit


Scattered in and around Clinton Portis' locker lie heaps of yellow cleats--a collection that would make Usain Bolt and his golden kicks jealous.

The Pro Bowl running back may need more than one pair in Sunday's bout with the Detroit Lions as he faces a team that he has had great success against in his career.

Last year, in the Redskins' 25-17 win over the Lions, Portis rushed for 126 yards on 24 carries.

Portis, master of disguise off the field, has been the centerpiece of the Redskins offense for the past six years, leading the team in rushing in five of those seasons (Portis suffered an injury in 2006, playing in only eight games that year).

Accumulating 6,165 yards as a Redskin through Week 2 this season, Portis is the club's second all-time rusher behind Hall of Famer John Riggins. He needs 1,307 yards to pass Riggins, a portion of which should come Sunday in the Motor City.

Through two games this year, the Lions' defense ranks 27th in yards allowed and 22nd in rushing defense.

That's good news for Portis, who has rushed for 345 yards--an average of 115 per game--over the last meetings between the Redskins and Lions. That includes Portis's 126 rushing yards in last year's contest.

Surprisingly, Portis has yet to score an offensive touchdown in any of the Redskins games against Detroit, all victories.

He also has been kept out of the end zone in the Redskins' first two games this season.

Portis knows as well as anyone that in order for the Redskins to win, the offense must capitalize on opportunities in the red zone.

On Wednesday, Portis pointed to better play execution as the primary reason for the red zone struggles.

"I think [head coach Jim Zorn] needs to call what he thinks is going to work and eventually it's going to work," Portis said. "We just haven't been executing. I could call out three plays where it would have been 21 points if we had executed. But we didn't."

He added: "It's frustrating when the game comes down to the wire, and then I think, 'If we would have scored on that drive, then we wouldn't be in this position.' Opportunities in the red zone are so hard to come by, so when you get them you have to convert."

Portis said the Redskins' offense has the capability to be "really explosive."

"I think [other teams] are looking at us and thinking we could be explosive--if we execute our plays," Portis said. "I think defensive coordinators look at the film and they see us with a man running wide open, but the pocket collapses or we miss a block or miss an assignment, or I missed a read."

A big play could be just what the offense needs to get on track, Portis said.

"When we score, it's always a grind," he said. "We grind you, grind you, grind you. When [big plays] start happening for us, I think we've got the capability of doing something special."

He hopes it starts in Detroit.

"They have playmakers on defense," Portis warned, citing veterans Julian Peterson, Grady Jackson and Phillip Buchanan. "It's only a matter of time before they get it together. I just hope it's not Sunday.

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