Thursday, August 6, 2009

Still relying on others for Alridge tidbits

So, with no interview (see previous post), I'll continue to rely on others for any dribs and drabs that have anything to do with Anthony Alridge. Here's Jason Reid's Redskins Insider post in the Washington Post today:

Job of 'Home Run Hitter' Still Open

Clinton Portis rushed for almost 1,500 yards last season despite having no gains of more than 31 yards. And the Skins' top back has had no rushes of at least 40 yards in the last three seasons.

No. 2 back Ladell Betts, expected to play a bigger role this season, rushed for more than 1,100 yards in 2006. Betts, however, had no gains of at least 30 yards in his first seven seasons.

The Skins' ground game has been productive with Portis and Betts occupying the first two spots on the depth chart. But Portis and Betts are not considered "home run hitters," speed backs capable of breaking big plays on every touch.

No. 1 wideout Santana Moss was the team's only big-play threat last season, ranking 12th in the league with 15 receptions of at least 20 yards and tied for 20th with three gains of 40 or more yards. Adding a speed back with the potential to consistently break long runs was among the items on Vinny Cerrato's to-do list to improve an offense that produced an average of only 16.6 points and ranked 28th in the 32-team league.

"It's another weapon," Cerrato said. "It's something the defense has to prepare for. And if you make a mistake, it could be a big play."

Cerrato did not attempt to address the situation in the draft, but the Skins claimed Anthony Alridge off waivers and signed free agent Dominique Dorsey from the Canadian Football League. Alridge spent the 2008 season on injured reserve with the Broncos and Dorsey excelled on special teams for the Toronto Argonauts.

Alridge is listed at 5 feet 9, 175 pounds. Dorsey's listed measurements are 5-7, 175. Obviously, they are diminutive backs, which usually is the case with speed guys. Darren Sproles is about the same size as Alridge and Dorsey, and acquiring Sproles seems to have worked pretty well for the Chargers.

"Everyone knows what Clinton and Ladell do for our offense, and we definitely need those guys to be healthy and out there to reach the level we want to as a team," quarterback Jason Campbell said. "But as an offense, you want to have as many weapons as you can. You want to give the defense as much as you can to think about. A lot of times, those little guys can do big things for you."

Alridge and Dorsey are expected to receive plenty of work in the preseason, and the Skins are hoping one of them emerges as a viable option for a situational role on offense and, potentially, a major role on special teams. Special-teams standout Rock Cartwright is entrenched as the team's primary kickoff returner after he ranked sixth in the NFC last season with an average of 25.6 yards.

Things aren't as firm on punt returns. Antwaan Randle El struggled last season and could be unseated as the top option for that role. Of course, there's a long way to go on that front. And in addition to having to prove themselves on special teams, Alridge and Dorsey must block well enough to inspire confidence in the coaching staff to use them on offense.

Marcus Mason, who is back in camp with the Skins, impressed in the 2008 preseason, but failed to make the 53-man roster, in large part, because of his deficiencies in third-down pass protection. So the formula is clear for Alridge and Dorsey: star on special teams, pick up blitzes well and you'll be in the running to stick with the Skins.

"We're going to watch 'em big time in the preseason," Cerrato said. "But they've got to be able to block. You've got to pick up the blitz."

Good stuff, Jason... If you've read any of my previous posts, this post pretty much sums up my opinion about the need for a change of page back to complement Clinton and Ladell... Let's hope Anthony makes the team. Or, I guess, Dominique Dorsey. We need someone like that... So, they have to hold on to the ball, pick up blitzes, and oh yeah, run like the wind untouched whenever they have the ball -- easy enough, right?

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