Did Skins Pay Cash for Clunkers?

mrice | Players, Predictions | 08 27th, 2010  |  Comments Off

Perhaps lost in the Haynesworth hoopla and the hyped up McNabb-led passing game is the fact that the Washington Redskins have arguably the deepest backfield in the National Football League circa 2005. Okay, so it’s been a few year years since Larry Johnson and Willie Parker struck fear into opposing linebackers, but once upon a time, a backfield of Johnson, Parker and old standby Clinton Portis would have been closer to a Pro-Bowl roster than the Redskins preseason squad. The year 2005 saw Parker rush for 1,202 yards and 4 touchdowns; Johnson added 1,750 rushing with 20 scores, while Portis scampered for 1,516, finding the end zone 11 times on the ground. That brings the cumulative total to 4,468 rushing yards and 35 TDs, and this doesn’t even factor in receiving stats. Last year, by comparison, the three-headed monster combined for just 1,087 ground yards with just 1 lone rushing touchdown, while battling injuries, reduced carries and in Johnson’s case character issues. So is there any upside to signing Parker and Johnson or did the President’s “Cash for Clunkers” program just matriculate down the D.C. landscape?It’s possible the Skins are simply trying to trick Donovan McNabb’s fellow aging body into feeling like its 5 years younger, the biggest team’s biggest free agent acquisition is, after all, 33 in his own right, and has already suffered a preseason ankle sprain. On the other hand, Parker, Johnson and Portis are all deceptively young considering how long it seems their names have been around NFL circles. Contrary to popular belief, Portis is just 28 years old, the same age as Falcons running back Michael Turner. Parker is 29, leaving Johnson as the group’s elder at 30. The Redskins may actually believe there is still some life in these forgotten veterans, though the sheer number of miles both Portis and Johnson put on their legs during their first few NFL seasons would argue that these downward trends should continue. Parker, though not particularly overused, just looks like he’s lost the elite quickness that set him apart. Hopefully for the Skins sake, these three can combine to keep each other fresh, if all three make the roster that is, and combine to form at least one of their former selves.

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