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Portis: 'Our Backs Are Against the Wall'

Running back Clinton Portis discussed the Redskins' offense in the second half of the season and his pending matchup against San Diego and LaDainian Tomlinson:

Q: The last couple of weeks you have produced some solid numbers. Do you feel like the running game is becoming more consistent?

A: "I feel like when we're in our game plan, the running game has been there. Unfortunately, we've fallen behind in a couple of games and we've gotten out of our game plan. This week, we want to play a solid game and not be one-dimensional. When we're one-dimensional, we struggle. When we have everything going, we're better. Our focus is not to have any turnovers. I think penalties have put us in bad situations where we have to pass. We've had 1st-and-20 and 2nd-and-15 situations. We need to cut down on our penalties."

Q: Was it disappointing to have fewer carries in the second half last week?

A: "You can't say that because I probably put us in that situation by fumbling. I don't know if that had anything to do with it, but I have to hold on to the ball. At the same time, if the running game is working, let's go."

Q: You and LaDainian Tomlinson have been among the best running backs in the NFL the last few years. What are your thoughts on him?

A: "That's great company. I think LaDainian is a great player and I have a lot of respect for him. We have a game plan for him and I'm sure they have a game plan for us. Either one of us can go out and have an amazing day. Both of us have had our off days. Being the focal point of an offense, teams want to stop LaDainian Tomlinson and they want to stop Clinton Portis. We can easily take over a game. Shaun Alexander in Seattle, too--nobody has found an answer for him this year. It's great company to be in."

Q: You've played four games against San Diego and each time rushed for 100 yards...

A: "It's not what you've done in the past--it's what you do now. For us, what's most important is finding a way to win. If my numbers are up when we win, that's great. Last year, every time my numbers were up, we won. This year, with my numbers up, we've actually lost a few. So we have to find a way to win."

Q: Is this a must-win game?

A: "Every week is a must-win game, even when you're not on a two-game losing streak. When we're sitting at 5-3, I thought going into Tampa Bay was a must-win. We would have been three games over .500 and had all kinds of leeway. Then, last week, we could have been 7-3. But we didn't win either game and now our backs are up against the wall. The great thing about it is, we know we can be in a better position. We've out-fought everybody except New York. Turnovers and penalties are hurting us. We know what we need to do."

Q: Do you feel like you'll have a bigger role in the passing game due to all of the injuries at wide receiver?

A: "If I could draw up the offense, I would be involved in everything. I'm not the offensive coordinator. I do what they ask of me. When I'm not involved in the passing game, I get downfield and block. I make sure I get my blitz pick-up. We have a lot of people capable of making plays. When they get the ball in their hands, I'm doing all I can to help them score. They do all they can to help me score."

Q: Did Coach Gibbs let on that Friday was his 65th birthday?

A: "He actually did. I'm going to wish him a 'Happy Birthday.' I hope that gives me some brownie points come Sunday."

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