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Portis: No News is Good News

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Portis: No News is Good News

Tandler's Redskins Blog Ver. 09.04.06--We will get our first official peek at the condition of Clinton Portis’ left shoulder sometime in the next few days when the Redskins release the injury report for Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. It will be good to get some clarity in a situation where that has been a rare commodity.

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

Some sloppy reporting over the weekend has led many to conclude that the chances are slim that Portis will take the field on Monday. A report on KFFL.com, which is a popular website that compiles sports reports from around the Internet and posts them in capsule form, said that Portis was “doubtful” for the opener. Here is the report:

Redskins | Portis doubtful for opener
Sat, 2 Sep 2006 09:16:01 -0700

The Associated Press reports Washington Redskins RB Clinton Portis' (shoulder) availability for the season opener is in serious doubt, according to head coach Joe Gibbs.

This led to a rash of message board posts and talk-show calls from panicked Redskins fans saying that, see, the injury really is more serious than the Redskins are letting on. The problem is that Joe Gibbs never said any such thing. The last time he spoke to the media, which was on Friday, here is what he had to say about the injury situation:

With the exception of Clinton and Shawn, I think we know what we've got with everyone else (in terms of injuries). I think Clinton has done extremely well. We'll have a discussion with him and see what he thinks.

How they get “serious doubt” out of this statement, I have no idea. The folks at KFFL should know that the word “doubtful” has a very precise meaning in terms of NFL injuries. On the official injury report it means that there is a 75% chance that the player won’t play. You simply can’t draw that conclusion from what Gibbs said. It was quite sloppy and irresponsible of KFFL to have stated the situation in that way.

The view here is that it would be surprising, although not shocking, for Portis to sit out on Monday. This feeling is based on the simple fact that if the shoulder was considerably worse than the Redskins have been indicating that word of that would have leaked out by now. This story is national news. It is being pounded on all angles. The health of Portis’ shoulder is a critical story in the fantasy football world. Ever since the injury happened on August 13 thousands of phone calls have been made in an effort to get a solid nugget of information indicating that the injury would either cost Portis some games or would seriously hamper his performance in 2006. Not one remotely credible report has come out indicating that either one of those is likely to happen.

In this case, the old saying rings very true—no news is good news.

This doesn’t mean that there is no cause for concern. Although Portis is right handed and he prefers to carry the ball in that hand and the injury is to the left shoulder, consider the picture below.

He’s using his left arm to push off a defender and gain a few additional yards. If the arm you use for your stiff arm is stiff all season long, that could well to hamper your effectiveness, especially if defenders are coaches to grab that arm and yank on it. Yeah, that wouldn’t really seem to be sporting, but don’t think that Gregg Williams would hesitate to do the same thing if he was an opposing defensive coordinator and he knew that a well-timed yank might put the other team’s best offensive player on the bench.

Regardless, it’s been amusing to see many Redskins-bashing members of the media do such an abrupt about-face when it comes to the value of Clinton Portis. When the Redskins traded for Portis in 2004 these folks were incredulous that they would give up Champ Bailey and a #2 draft pick for a system back. When they signed Portis to a big contract extension a few months later, it was ridiculous to pay so much for a mere running back, a commodity that could be had for much, much less cap space.

Now that Portis may, just may, be affected by this shoulder injury the same journalists have dropped the Redskins from being a possible Super Bowl contender to a team that will be fortunate to finish around .500. His value is growing immeasurably in his absence. A little consistency would be nice, but why should these guys start now?

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when the moved to Washington for the 1937 season through 2001. For details and ordering information go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com

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Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Facing one of the NFL's best running backs in Arizona's David Johnson, the Redskins plan to use rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens as a spy in nickel coverage to slow down the Cardinals' threat, per a source close to the team.

Johnson ranks third in the NFL with 921 rushing yards, but it's the variety of ways the Arizona offense uses their second-year running back that makes him so difficult to handle for opposing defenses. Johnson also has 55 catches for 613 yards, and that's just through 11 games.

Cravens comes into the game with momentum as perhaps the Redskins most dynamic defensive threat. With size to play linebacker and enough speed to play coverage, the 6-foot-1, 220 lbs. rookie out of USC will be put in a tough position covering Johnson. The reality of his assignment is to try and contain Johnson as the Cardinals offense is so reliant on the runner that he will get a number of chances.

In their last two games, Johnson has gone for more than 150 total yards in each contest and scored multiple touchdowns. For his part, Cravens has proved a playmaker in his rookie season. To go with 29 tackles in nine games, his stat sheet has sacks and an interception listed.

Getting to Carson Palmer is the best path for the Redskins defense - especially considering the Cardinals' offensive line woes - but using Cravens to try and limit Johnson is a smart course of action for the 'Skins.

One member of the Washington defense explained that Johnson is "going to make plays" but that the key is to limit the damage. If the running back catches a ball out of the backfield, Joe Barry's defense will be focused on making a stop after a five-yard gain, instead of a 20-yard gain.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates: Score, stats, highlights, analysis, video

Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates: Score, stats, highlights, analysis, video

The Redskins and Cardinals highlight the Week 13 schedule with a showdown in the desert with heavy NFL playoff implications on the line.

If the Redskins (6-5-1) can score a victory over the Cardinals (4-6-1), the team can move closer to solidifying one of the top two Wild Card spots in the NFC playoff race.

Depite the Redskins' difficult Week 12 loss to the Cowboys, Kirk Cousins is playing the best football of his career as of late, and earned the NFC Player of the Month honors for his efforts.

While running back Robert Kelley did have a slip-up against the Cowboys, the team's run game still looks vastly improved from the early season, which allows the passing game to thrive even more. Jamison Crowder continues to impress, and although Jordan Reed will miss the Cardinals game with an injury, Vernon Daivs has proven to be an excellent option for Cousins.

The most entertaining matchup of Week 13 might be Redskins DB Josh Norman vs. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, but the most important matchup will undoubtedly be the Redskins defensive line vs. Cardinals RB David Johnson. 

RELATED: NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS HEADING INTO WEEK 13

Johnson trails just DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott -- who finished with 83 yards and one TD in Week 12 -- in total rushing yards with 920 and trails just Elliott and Legarrett Blount in rushing touchdowns with 10. The Redskins rank 25th in rushing defense, and have given up an average of 108 rushing yards in their last five games.

Redskins vs. Cardinals kicks off at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 4 on FOX. Redskins Kickoff gets things started at 3:00 p.m. ET on CSN Mid-Atlantic. (Channel Finder)

CSN is providing all the live updates, stats, scores, highlights, videos and analysis from Redskins vs. Cardinals. Got a comment on the game? Be sure to let us know in the comment section and join Santana Moss and Sebastian Salazar at halftime for the Facebook Live Q&A.

RELATED: BEST & WORST REDSKINS ALTERNATE UNIFORMS

Redskins vs. Cardinals Live Updates

PREGAME:

10:30 AM: Game Preview: The five things you need to know before Redskins vs. Cardinals.

1. Keep it moving
2. Missing in action
3. Consider the source
4. Problems don't go away
5. Harder they fall

10:15 AM: Be sure to follow CSN Insiders J.P. Finlay and Rich Tandler, who are at University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, Ari. Also, give our CSN Redskins Twitter account too. Come for the analysis, stay for the dank memes.

10:00 AM: Welcome to CSNMA's live updates blog of Week 13 Redskins vs. Cardinals. As always, I am Troy Machir and today I will be your online guide to Redskins vs. Cardinals football in the painted desert of the southwest. If you have an issue with me, you can cuss me out on Twitter, 140 characters at a time. It's fun.