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Instant analysis: Bears 33, Redskins 31

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Instant analysis: Bears 33, Redskins 31

CHICAGORobert Griffin III turned in an uneven performance in the Redskins second preseason game, a 33-31 loss to the Bears on Saturday night.Griffin played the entire first half, completing five of eight pass attempts for 49 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions. He also was sacked three times, losing a total of 19 yards, and fumbled for the second consecutive game.There were two injures to defensive starters, however that overshadowed Griffins struggles.Linebacker Brian Orakpo suffered an apparent left shoulder injury, while strong safety Brandon Meriweather sustained a left knee injury.Neither player returned to the game and the seriousness of the injuries will be determined after further examination.If either is sidelined long term, the Redskins depth will be seriously tested. Rob Jackson is listed as Orakpos backup at right outside linebacker. Meriweather was replaced by Tanard Jackson.Coach Mike Shanahan is expected to update the status of both players during his postgame news conference.A few other observations from Soldier Field:--If Brandon Banks was on the bubble entering the game, he should be off it now. The diminutive special teams ace returned an Adam Podlesh punt 91 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter to cut the Redskins deficit to 17-10.Banks fielded the punt near the left hashes, burst through a seam, then raced down the right sideline. It marked the third straight preseason in which he returned a punt for a score.--Alfred Morris was tapped a starter and given he biggest opportunity of his young career. It was so-so. He rushed for 38 yards on his first five carries, including a 21-yard scamper on his first carry. But the rookie, who is competing for a spot on the 53-man roster, had only 34 yards on 10 carries when he left the game at the end of the second half.--Kirk Cousins, playing primarily against Chicagos reserves, put up impressive statistics and made a strong opening argument to be tapped as Griffins backup (instead of Rex Grossman). Cousins tossed three touchdown passes and finished 18-23 for 264 yards and three touchdown passes. with a passer rating of 153.Well have more news, notes and reaction from the locker room in a bit.

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Clinton Portis confesses that bankruptcy pushed him to the brink of murder

Clinton Portis confesses that bankruptcy pushed him to the brink of murder

While starring for the Redskins from 2004-2010, Clinton Portis was a beloved player renowned for his toughness on the field and humor off of it.

But a Sports Illustrated story published Wednesday shows how different the post-football Portis was from the one who made a name for himself in the Burgundy and Gold.

After retiring from the NFL, Portis ran into severe money trouble when he trusted his money with people he wishes he hadn't, according to SI's Brian Burnsed. The running back filed for bankruptcy in 2015, and the financial issues he encountered pushed him to the brink of committing a serious crime.

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"On a handful of late nights and early mornings in 2013 he lurked in his car near a Washington, D.C.–area office building, pistol at his side, and waited for one of several men who had managed a large chunk of the $43.1 million he earned with his 2,230 carries over nine NFL seasons," Burnsed writes.

“It wasn’t no beat up,” Portis told the writer. “It was kill.”

He never did follow through on the revenge he wanted, thanks in large part to a friend and therapist who forced him to consider how killing someone would affect his family and all he had worked for in his life. If he had found the person he was targeting, however, he's honest about what would've happened.

“We’d probably be doing this interview from prison,” Portis, who stopped participating in the story after two interviews, said.

Another notable part from the story is that the 35-year-old is experiencing memory lapses and often gets lost while driving, but is afraid to be tested because he's "really scared" of what those tests would find. Overall, though, Portis is in a better place now than he was a few years ago.

"Life is so much clearer after coming out of that storm," he said.

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True or false: The Redskins will carry four tight ends on the roster

True or false: The Redskins will carry four tight ends on the roster

True or false: The Redskins will carry four tight ends on their roster this year.

Rich Tandler: True

The Redskins added a tight end to a roster that had four experienced players at the position already on it. But, make no mistake, fifth-round selection Jeremy Sprinkle was not a “luxury” pick.

Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis are both stone cold locks to make the roster. They are the pass catchers who are expected to combine for perhaps 1,500 yards and at least a dozen touchdowns.

The third tight end could be Niles Paul, a veteran who has battled injuries the last two years. He appears to be healthy and if he stays that way he can play tight end, be the fullback on the six or eight snaps per game the Redskins use one, and be a strong contributor on special teams.

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Sprinkle can fill a role that those three can’t—blocking tight end. Jay Gruden had to put tackle Ty Nsekhe on the field when they needed a three-tight end set. That made the job of the defense easier with essentially four eligible receivers to deal with.

With a well-defined role for each player, it would make perfect sense for the Redskins to carry four tight ends on the 53-man roster rather than the customary three. Of course, if they carry four at tight end they have to go with one fewer player elsewhere. They will find a spot.

Running back seems to be the logical place to go for that spot. If they keep, say, Mack Brown as the fourth running back, you then have a player without a defined role. He’s the backup to the backup to the backup. Sure, he can do special teams, but not as well as Paul.

Perhaps if you want to keep Brown you let go of Paul with his recent injury history and his $2.2 million cap number in mind. Or you can let Sprinkle get some seasoning on the practice squad.

But I think that the Redskins drafted Sprinkle with the plan to keep four tight ends. If they are going to go with their best, most versatile 53 that is what they will do.

JP Finlay: False

Man, this is tough. If you asked me this in May, I thought Niles Paul would be caught in a roster crunch. After watching the guys on the field through OTAs and minicamp, this decision becomes much harder. 

Paul played well in those sessions, showed no rust from the injuries and impressed regardless what quarterback he was paired up with. Sprinkle looked like a rookie with a lot to learn, and while he's really big, he still seemed like his upper body could fill out in the NFL. 

In a vacuum it's easy to say the Redskins should keep four tight ends. Like Tandler laid out above, Reed and Davis are roster locks. Paul can help in a ton of spots, and Sprinkle should evolve into the blocking tight end for the jumbo set. 

But NFL rosters aren't made in vacuums. To keep a fourth tight end, the Redskins will have to make a cut, and Tandler suggested Mack Brown could be the guy. I don't see that happening. Jay Gruden and Randy Jordan speak glowingly about Brown. 

This will be a fun roster spot to watch, but in June, before any injuries or the competition of training camp, I think the Redskins keep Reed, Davis and Paul. Then they really, really hope they can sneak the rookie Sprinkle to their practice squad.

Washington has not kept three healthy tight ends on their roster in the last few seasons, and if that trend continues, Sprinkle would make the NFL roster before the end of the year. Keeping four tight ends just isn't a luxury the Redskins have, especially keeping three quarterbacks like they're expected to do. 

Tandler-Finlay True or False series: Leading rusher | Leading receiver