- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 6, 2008


The value of Clinton Portis certainly was in doubt this summer: He was coming off two down years, and the Redskins had just hired a pass-oriented coach. Doubt no more. Portis has 172 more yards rushing than any other back, and he gained at least 120 yards in five straight games. The run-blocking has been good.


Quarterback Jason Campbell was accurate and fairly productive in Weeks 2 through 8. Wideout Santana Moss got off to a monster start, and tight end Chris Cooley and receiver Antwaan Randle El are having career years. The protection was awful against the Giants and Steelers but pretty solid otherwise.


The defense allowed little running room to some pretty good backs - Marion Barber, Brian Westbrook, etc. Linebackers London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh lead what has been a physical, effective unit. Tackles Cornelius Griffin and Kedric Golston have been sturdy in the interior. Rookie strong safety Chris Horton stepped in and performed well.


The Redskins have held all but one opponent to less than 225 passing yards - a performance delivered against strong competition and without the services of top cornerback Shawn Springs and top pass-rusher Jason Taylor for extended periods. Corner Carlos Rogers has rebounded from major knee surgery to have his best year.


The lone area of disappointment. Rookie punter Durant Brooks won a summer battle with incumbent Derrick Frost but was cut after six poor games that included two returns for touchdowns. Replacement Ryan Plackemeier has been better. Kickoff coverage has been superb. Santana Moss scored a touchdown on a punt return against the Lions.


Jim Zorn had never run an offense or served as a head coach, but he has been a major success. Zorn keeps opposing defenses off-balance with a blend of West Coast passing and Joe Gibbs power running. He has had his players at their best in the biggest games and in the fourth quarter. Greg Blache’s brand of defense is less daring but more sound.

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