Running back Clinton Portis enters the midpoint of the 2007 season with 433 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 115 carries. The Redskins' run game is ranked 18th in the NFL, down from last season. Portis spoke with Redskins.com and media this week:
Q: What is the cure for the Redskins' running game?
"Just get after it. Stay after it. Go out and it eventually has to break. It can't get any worse. We came out of the game with 47 rushing yards. If we are going to win, we have to be a balanced team. Out of the running game, we have to get more than 47 yards."
Q: Is the struggles in the running game right now affected by more than just injuries on the offensive line?
"It's all of us. Maybe I could run harder, maybe a receiver could block better, maybe the offensive line could sustain blocks. You can point at anything when you're losing. At the same time, all of us have to take it upon ourselves to make the running game better, to make the passing game better, and to make the offense better."
Q: When you look at yourself on film, do you think you look like the Clinton Portis of old?
"I think I look good, but at the same time, it's the balance. I can tell in making the moves. When we played New England there was one guy and I tried to sidestep him and my leg just came from under me. I think it's more on my balance, but as far as my reads, I'm making the right reads. I'm getting in the right holes. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. Now I just have to fight to stay up. I can't let one person bring me down. I have to work on the safety. I have to give the safety something to make him miss and then get big runs after it."
Q: At the midpoint of the season, do you feel completely healthy and in game shape?
A: "I do. I really feel like I'm in game shape. When you go back over the last two or three weeks, I have been in the game the whole time--not coming out. It's just offensively for us, we have to get going in the running game. I looked early on and saw what was wrong again. I was going to the left side, carrying the ball in the right hand, so I didn't have anything. It's off balance. If I get hit on the right side, I can't stiff arm or anything. The last two weeks I worked on getting the ball when I'm running to the left, securing the ball and putting it in the left hand. When I run to the right, I secure the ball and put it in the right. It's just constantly working to get better."
Q: What improvements are you focusing on in the next couple of weeks?
"Just the determination of not touching the ground. Doing whatever it takes. Fighting for extra yards, getting everything out of every run. I have to get the maximum amount of yards that I can get out of every run. If it's another 1-2 yards that I can gain by fighting and pushing the pile, then that's what I have to do. If I can come up out of some of the arm tackles, a lot of the leg swipes, just get my balance back. That's really what I've been gearing towards just to make sure my balance is there. If I stay up on a couple of runs, you never know."
Q: You haven't had a 100-yard rushing game since October 2006. How important is it for you to reach that plateau, as well as the 1,000-yard plateau?
"I know, for myself, all that is coming. I know I'm not going to stay down. It doesn't matter if our other three linemen get hurt. For myself personally, I will find a way to get 1,000 yards. I'll find a way to do whatever it is going to take to help this team. I think right now it takes everybody being on the same page. We're all coming together again."