- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2006

CINCINNATI — When Redskins stud running back Clinton Portis was injured on the game’s eighth play last night, it’s not a stretch to suggest the complexion of the season changed.

Portis was laughing and joking around in the post-game press conference, but he eventually made a great point: He’ll start the regular season nicked up because of the partial separation of the shoulder and it’s likely it won’t get back to full strength all season.

Translation: Opponents will be ready to pound Portis into submission. They’ll blitz more on passing downs to make Portis use his shoulder to block. They’ll give him an extra shove on running plays. And Portis will get punished because he runs with his head down and takes a ton of punishment.

Let’s say Portis returns for Week 1. It’s up to Gibbs and Saunders to find ways to keep him healthy and effective but also out of harm’s way so expect Ladell Betts and other running backs to perhaps play more on third down.

But sooner or later during a 16-game season, whether it’s against Dallas in Week 2 when Roy Williams introduces himself or Week Whatever when Keith Bullock from Tennessee or Jeremiah Trotter from Philadelphia says hello, Portis will be extremely banged up.

Not exactly a great way to start the preseason.

Other observations:

• The first-team defense looked great. They blitzed corners and safeties, recording two sacks, one pressure and Minus-9 yards to Cincinnati in three possessions.

• Todd Collins started out rough but he did make a couple keep third-down throws. If Mark Brunell gets hurt, the Redskins might be in big trouble.

• Jason Campbell can’t be fairly evaluated. He played the whole second half but the Redskins had terrible field position. He made a couple nice throws, though.

The Redskins are off today and then practice three days before playing the Jets and Patrick Ramsey on Saturday night.

I’ll check in later today if more is revealed about Portis.

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