The question is, and has been…. do the Redskins need to bring in Brian Westrbook? Do they need a proven 3rd down back that can pick up protections, block, and catch the ball if need be? Or do they already have adequate personnel to fill that role in the backfield? Offensive Coordinator Shanahan suggests the latter in his most recent statements on the state of the Redskins backfield:
“First thing with a third down back is you want a guy who can block. We have the best blocker as a back in Clinton Portis that I’ve ever been around., So I think we do have a third down back.”
“You would always love to have that bonus as a coach, have some catching guys, stuff like that. But that’s just a bonus. That’s not necessarily what you’re trying to win games with… But what you’ve got to have is a guy who can block and pick up protections. And we’ve got that.”
So basically, Westbrook is not needed with the Redskins already securing Larry Johnson and Willie Parker to aid Clinton Portis this season. Westbrook would undoubtedly be a luxury that supersaturates the RB core and likely pushes out Parker if he is signed, but probably through this lens what Westbrook actually would be is a safety blanket for Donovan McNabb… who is understandably removed from his Philadelphia comfort zone in many ways since he arrived in D.C. and would certainly be open to having that familiar screen to Westbrook as a mainstay option in his new offense.
But when it comes to straight running the ball, Shanahan makes it clear that getting positive yardage through the game plan is what matters most, not identities of players:
“It doesn’t matter to me. Any way that you can do it. However we can always get over four yards a carry, whether it’s one guy doing it, whether it’s five guys doing it, whether it’s three. It does not matter to me at all. You just want to call run plays that get positive yards.”
I doubt the Redskins are going to fruitlessly spend more many than they already have this season, and it’s pretty clear that Shanahan is leaving all his options open with this statement but the reality is that the Skins’ backfield is set, just the way it is.
[quotes via The Insider]