It's Jason Campbell's Time To Help out Clinton Portis

Andrew SableContributor INovember 14, 2008

As the second half of the season progresses, and the playoffs near, running back Clinton Portis has carried the Washington Redskins towards the light at the end of the tunnel that is the NFC (B)East.

The 'Skins are sitting pretty at (6-3) and are in prime position to capture a birth in the playoffs. In their final seven games, the Redskins will take on three NFC East opponents at home; the Giants, Cowboys, and the Eagles.

The other four games are on the road versus Ravens, Bengals, 49ers, and a homecoming for Coach Jim Zorn against the Seattle Seahawks. With a weak out-of-division-schedule ahead, and three home games versus NFC East opponents, the Redskins are all but in the playoffs.

Before the season, what non-Redskins fan would have predicted that they would be sitting at (6-3) after nine games?


Thank you Clinton Portis

The 5'11" inch running back from the University of Miami has been nothing short of the NFL’s MVP this season. He is the reason for the Redskins success this season. Not the consistent play of quarterback Jason Campbell. Not the resurgent defense or new head Coach Jim Zorn’s unorthodox coaching style.

It has been Clinton Portis and his 110 yards per game that have excelled the 'Skins into the upper tier of teams in the NFL.

And now Portis is doubtful for Sunday night’s showdown with the Dallas Cowboys with a knee injury.

The NFL season is a grueling one, especially for a running back. In order to keep, or get Clinton Portis healthy, the pressure is going to have to lie on the shoulders of Jason Campbell, as the season crawls to an end.

Although Sunday night’s game versus the Cowboys will not make or break their season, this game will be indicative of how far Jason Campbell has progressed. He is going to have to put the team on his shoulders and lead them to a victory against the Cowboys, without his safety blanket in Clinton Portis, something he hasn’t had to do all season.

Coach Jim Zorn’s play-calling will also need to be adjusted if the Redskins are going to keep Portis healthy deep into the playoffs. 20+ carries week in and out is going to grind away the health of Portis.

Either Zorn needs to incorporate backups Shaun Alexander and Ladell Betts more in the running games, or the 'Skins are going to need to be a pass-first, run-second team. Portis is the reason for the Redskins' success, and if he isn’t healthy, the Redskins will struggle unless Campbell can step his level of play up to that of a top-tier quarterback.

At the same time, Coach Jim Zorn needs to take the training wheels off of his bicycle and see if Campbell can pedal away. It is time to see how far he has really come under the wings of Zorn.

Hopefully some of the pressure will be taken off of Portis now that he is injured. There is no need to keep giving him 20+ carries and possibly lose him for the rest of the season to an injury. Out of adversity rises champions, and the time is now for the fourth-year quarterback from the University of Auburn.