During the second half of last night’s debacle in Baltimore, an emerging storyline was the absence of Clinton Portis. Following yet another unsuccessful “drive” early in the third, CP was replaced by Betts and never saw the field again. Sideline reports were that Portis was fine, which Madden several times called “unbelievable” — if he wasn’t injured, then why wouldn’t Portis, the team’s MVP, be on the field?
Well, believe it, Madden. After the game, Portis said he wasn’t hurt, and was “benched” in favor of Betts:
[Portis] said while coming off the field that he had been “benched.” He said he felt fine.
“There’s nothing wrong with me,” he added.
Asked why he wasn’t in the game, Portis said, “You’ve got to go talk to them,” meaning the coaches. …
“Ladell came up and made some big plays,” Portis said. “He played good. … He got hot. Stick with the hot guy.” …
Portis was asked whether he was aware that Zorn said the decision was made by running backs coach Stump Mitchell.
“I ask no questions, bro,” he said. “I held my helmet. I don’t know if Coach Mitchell is the most powerful guy over here. But if that’s what they say. … I think Coach Stump does an excellent job communicating with us. But I ask no questions, bro.”
I don’t recall Betts ever getting “hot.” He had a couple decent gains catching the ball out of the backfield, but those were on blown coverages with nothing but green grass in front of him. And he certainly was far from warm running the ball. Betts had six carries for three yards, total.
This sort of knee-jerk benching of a guy who has sacrificed his body for the team all season certainly doesn’t reek of staying medium. In fact, it tends more toward desperation and panic, which is probably what you’d expect from a rookie coach who’s seeing his offense fall apart.
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