Redskins backfield could be a real headache

Clinton Portis has long been the unquestioned starter in Washington. But with the addition of Larry Johnson, it appears the veteran will now have to compete for the top spot on the depth chart.

New coach Mike Shanahan likes what Johnson, 30, will bring to the offensive attack. He also hinted that L.J. will be allowed the chance to unseat Portis.

Clinton Portis (left) may now have to compete for the starting job against recent acquisition Larry Johnson. (Associated Press)

“I love competition,” Shanahan told the The Washington Post. “So we’re going to try to get as much depth as we can at every position. We’ve just got a couple of guys there right now.”

Shanahan has a noted history of fielding successful fantasy running backs from his time with the Broncos. Whether it was Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson or Reuben Droughns, owners looking for potential sleepers and breakout players always targeted backs in Shanahan’s offense.

But in his final three seasons in the Mile High City, Shanahan’s offenses produced just one 1,000-yard rusher (Tatum Bell, 2006) as the offensive wizard went with more of a backfield committee than a featured runner.

It looks like he’ll remain consistent with that sort of strategy in his first season in Washington.

Whether it’s Portis or Johnson who earns the starting role, it’s a pretty good bet that both backs will be seeing their share of the workload. That scenario will make it difficult to lean on either one for a consistent level of production.

I’d avoid both of these backs as more than a flex starter. Actually, I’d avoid them altogether on draft day.

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