Ladell Betts runs the ball like it's his last game in the National Football League.
Because he isn't the starter and has seemed to get few touches over the past two seasons, Betts tries to get the most out of every yard. He made several plays, including the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, because of his second and third efforts.
Despite being two years older and having the same number of years in the league as Portis, Betts takes far less of a beating. At this point in both of their careers, Betts's legs just seem to be fresher.
Compound that with the fact that Clinton tip-toes and puts so much of his weight forward while running through holes and the slightest nudge seems to send him tumbling to the ground.
Betts, on the other hand, runs more squarely and explodes through the hole. He is able to break tackles and bounce off hits that Portis just can't.
Dan Dierdorf pointed out that Betts hits the hole or hits someone, as where Clinton either makes it through the hole or gets knocked back. Frankly, with the line the Skins have right now, they need a back who hits people and can get one or two yards with nothing there instead of getting bounced back for no gain.
However, I don't think Portis should be relegated to the bench. He is probably the best blocking back in the league, and his outside speed is greater than Betts.
I think naming a starter is inconsequential because team should implement a two-headed monster approach, which most of the league does.
This would allow Betts to get more touches and save Portis's legs. Last season we saw what riding Portis does to his numbers. Believe it or not, through six games last season he was the top back in the league.
Will we see more Betts in Dallas on Sunday?
It's hard to say. First, the team has yet to state whether or not Portis will even play. Second, Portis does have the ear of owner Dan Snyder, and since our head coach is only a head coach in name, I'm pretty sure Zorn will have little say in the matter.
In the end, though, both of our backs are at that age of breakdowns. I don't think the Skins need to use a high draft pick to get a young back in the draft next year but a decent fourth or fifth rounder behind a stout offensive line could be a good mix.