- The Washington Times - Monday, July 24, 2006

The Washington Times’ Ryan O’Halloran will examine one Redskins position group each day until Sunday, when the team reports to training camp. Today: Running backs.

Who’s back: Starter Clinton Portis and reserves Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright and Nehemiah Broughton.

Who’s new: Free agent Kerry Carter.

Overview: Portis set a single-season franchise record with 1,516 yards rushing and scored 11 touchdowns last year. He had nine 100-yard games, including five straight to end the regular season. Betts was productive as a reserve last season but missed four games because of injuries. Cartwright is a special teams ace. If Betts can stay healthy, he and Portis form one of the league’s best tandems.

Key issues: 1. How do the Redskins use Betts? Offensive guru Al Saunders raved about Betts during last month’s minicamp. But Portis remains the man, the Redskins rarely use two-back sets and there are enough receivers to fill three- and four-receiver sets. Expect Betts to spell Portis more often if he continues to impress, perhaps getting eight or nine carries a game.

2. Will the new passing offense help Portis? It should. Portis performs his best when the Redskins use spread formations, which aids his darting running style. He averaged a touchdown every 19.4 carries for the Broncos but only every 43.4 carries with the Redskins. Portis didn’t score his first touchdown last year until the sixth game and his 110th carry. It’s time for him to score more touchdowns.

Tomorrow: Offensive line

Got a question about the Redskins? Starting in training camp, the Times will be running a weekly Redskins Mailbag. Send questions to Ryan O’Halloran at [email protected]

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