Betts Isn’t Better Than Portis, People


I tweeted the headline a few hours ago and got the following responses:

“Agree to disagree. And he’s good enough to where they never should have trade a HOF corner and a second round pick for Portis.” — @johnmtaylor

“for whatever reason – age, injuries, not practicing – CP looks like he’s lost a step. Betts simply looks fresher with more burst.” — @thebrowncoat

“Betts isn’t better than Portis, but the Broncos game showed the Ewing Theory in full force. Sometimes less is more.” –@HomerMcFanboy

“Portis needs to practice to play. That’s why Betts looked better” — @ericmates

“But I heard on Extremeskins from some McDonalds guy that Betts is the second coming of Barry Sanders” — @joerussbowman

Love that last one, as it seems to mock the popular sentiment of Skins fans today, specifically that Betts is, at this point, a better back than Portis. And while that may be true (Portis is injured after all), what’s certain is that the overall running game was better yesterday than it had been previously.

Sure, we saw Betts’ “burst,” and Rock Cartwright’s too, but math don’t lie:

Betts’ yards per carry in Games 1-8: 3.5
Betts’ yards per carry in Game 9: 4.4

Cartwright’s yards per carry in Games 1-8: 3.4
Cartwright’s yards per carry in Game 9: 4.6

Something was different. Maybe it was the play-calling or the revamped offensive line, the mood of the team or the game plan, but something was definitely different, and it was bigger than Betts replacing Portis.

And for the record, Portis averaged 4.0 yards per carry in Games 1-8. It wasn’t like he was pulling a Larry Johnson (2.7) or LaDainian Tomlinson (3.3). But he did have 342 carries last season (third-most in the NFL), and has averaged 293 for the past seven, so it’s only natural to lump them together.

This is what happens to the great ones after all, and Portis is one of the greats. That’s just a fact, Jack. So while rooting for Betts to get his, I hope it’s not over for Portis just yet. I don’t think it is.

Update: A rebuttal of sorts from Stet Sports Blog.

16 thoughts on “Betts Isn’t Better Than Portis, People”

  1. Ha! A trip down memory lane.

    Nice exchange between Chris and I on Portis running his mouth and throwing folks under the bus. Who would’ve guessed months later, Portis would be throwing Sellers….wait for it….

  2. in the grand scheme of things, portis is better, but for the now and for the future, portis is done. let him collect checks and dust cause the skin won’t win with his 1.7 yds per rush. although they may win games if he starts wearing costumes again

  3. So Betts isn’t better then Portis except Portis is injured so he might be? As for math not lying, I think there’s an issue here of sample size and opportunities. Here were the carrying totals for Betts and Portis games 1-8:

    Portis: 124
    Betts: 26

    Yesterday Betts carried the ball as many times as he had in the previous 8 games total, 26, and he managed to run for 114 yards. And against Atlanta he carried it 15 times for 70 yards, a 4.7 average. His previous season high in carries before the last two weeks was 4 against the Rams.

    The math doesn’t lie, when Betts has been given a shot, i.e. more then a handful of carries a game, he’s done very well. As well as Portis.

    P.S. Cartwright had 8 runs in games 1-8, all of which happened in only two games. Another incredibly small sample size to use for yards per carry.

  4. Right: So long as Portis is injured, Betts is the play. But if/when Portis is well, he’s the play.

    And I hear you on small samples, but it wasn’t just Betts running well, it was Rock too, and both exceeded their previous performance.

  5. I was being unnecessarily sarcastic with my first sentence, sorry I know what you were trying to say.

    I agree they both exceeded their previous performances, my point was simply, particularly with regards to Betts, he’s had two games in which he’s been given a legit shot, vs. Atlanta and vs. Denver. In each of those games he’s done well. Saying he hasn’t done well in previous games in which he got a carry or two doesn’t seem fair.

    I don’t think Betts should now get the majority of carries over Portis when both are healthy but I do think Betts should be getting at least 10 a game from here on out. Give the guy a shot, he hasn’t done anything to prove he doesn’t deserve one.

  6. Betts was better yesterday than Portis has been all season. Sure Portis is going to play when healthy, but hopefully this an indication that the Skins will be ok at RB when they cut Portis this offseason and don’t draft a RB in the 1st round (which has to be OL and not a QB/RB/WR).

  7. Continuing on Jake’s comments, dig up the stats on Betts when he’s been the actual starter. They’re very impressive, and it’s too bad I can’t find the site that had them listed.

    My issue with Portis is how many yards this offense has lost the way he falls down the times he does get past the line of scrimmage.

  8. What irony we saw yesterday….the game when we play Champ Bailey, a one in a generation player at a position (cornerback) that players who play it well are rare that we TRADED, we win with a RB by committee. We dealt a shutdown CB and a 2nd round pick for a RB, a position that productive players are common. Portis is a great player (I’d never disrespect him for what he’s done for this team), but trading a HOF caliber CB and a 2nd round pick for a HB was really a dumb trade. Of all the games to be the best example of this, its the one against the guy we never should have dealt away. How ironic.

  9. Bailey had already said that in no way was he going resign with the Redskins. The trade basically resulted in trading a 2nd round pick for Portis which, for his production, is a pretty damn good trade

  10. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills when people try to compare Betts to Portis.

    Betts did have some good games when filling in the past, but he also gave away some with his frequent fumbling.

    Our O-line outweighed the Bronco’s D-Line by damn near 25 lbs yesterday.

    Portis has done more for this franchise in the last ten years then any other player (other than maybe Samuels). Hop off the bus now if you want, but Portis is a warrior who will not go out like Shaun Alexander…BET!

  11. Portis is done. Finished. Was no one watching the first 8 games? He’s like Shaun Alexander: tip-toe to the pile, promptly fall to earth.

    By all verbal accounts (check Rabach’s quotes), and visual accounts (watching the game), the line blocks harder for Betts, and they seem to have better chemistry and timing. Probably because he actually practices with them. He hits the little holes harder, which is key, since they are teeny-tiny.

    Those are subjective observations. Here is an objective one: Betts is infinity-times better at pass-catching than Portis, and is in fact a top 10 pass-catching back in the NFL this season:

    Seeing as how our passing game revolves around screens and check downs, having a back who excels in this department is, I’d say, pretty critical.

  12. I do seem to recall that Betts has periodically had trouble with the fumblerooskies, but I don’t know the exact stats on that.

    In addition, one of the Wash Post articles on Monday said something about Portis being capable of the big run and Betts not ever having a run of over 27 yards or something.

    But the Redskins were 2-6 with Portis as the starter this year. At this point, I’d rather have Betts’ 6 yard runs than having to depend on some big Portis burst that might or might not come after the team is already too far down to benefit from it.

    In any event, I can’t see any justification at this point for going back to a one-back, Portis-centered running back scheme when the Betts-Cartwright tandem worked pretty well at least for a week. Would like to see how it holds up against Dallas and other beasts of the East.

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