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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 Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Since the dismissal of former general manager Scot McCloughan, there's been little question who was in charge at Redskins Park. Unofficially anyway. 

Bruce Allen is back running the show, if he ever stopped, and will be at the center of the Redskins draft room and decision making process.

For weeks, Allen and Jay Gruden made clear that the entire Redskins front office - from scouts to the top brass - have input on draft grades. Those grades will determine what players the 'Skins take, and the team is unlikely to deviate from their draft board. 

On Monday, however, Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell addressed the media and explained that when a decision needs to be made, it will be Allen's call. 

From Campbell:

The way we have the room when the draft is ongoing is we have Eric Schaffer and Alex Santos are constantly calling teams above us. They’re taking the phone calls from the other teams – also behind [us]. A lot of times per Bruce’s instructions, he’ll say, ‘Hey, you take these five teams. You take the next five teams. Start making calls.’ And then we’re receiving calls too at the same time. Once they get that information, they’ll tell the table in the front and say, ‘Hey, we can trade back for this, we can trade up for that.’ It would be me and Bruce and Jay saying ‘No, no, we’ve got enough guys there’ or say ‘I like these guys,’ or like, “Hey, there’s guys there.’ So it’s kind of a discussion amongst the people, and most times it’s Bruce saying, ‘Just tell them we’re not interested,’ or he says, ‘Get the league on the phone. We’re going to make that trade.’”

Campbell's comments reveal quite a lot. To start, it's interesting to know the roles of Schaffer and Santos during the draft. Both men carry a lot of impact in the team's personnel selection. Also, and it was fairly obvious since McCloughan's firing, but Jay Gruden's role continues to increase.

The biggest tell, however, is that ultimately Bruce Allen makes the decisions. It's not a surprise, but it is important to know. Officially.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

The Redskins may or may not have one of the most polarizing members of the 2017 draft class on their draft board. But they do believe that character counts.

Scott Campbell, the Redskins’ director of college scouting, would not say if  Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who is seen on video striking a woman and knocking her to the floor in an incident that occurred in July of 2014, is on the team’s board.

“We don't announce who's on and off the board for strategic reasons,” said Campbell on Monday at the team’s pre-draft news conference, saying that it’s the team’s policy.

He added that incidents like the one that Mixon was a part of do come into consideration.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

“Character is very important to me, it's very important to the Redskins,” said Campbell.

He explained that early in the scouting process, character issues are not taken into account.

“What I always told the scouts and how I was trained 30 years ago when I started is when you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don't factor in the character, you don't grade character, you grade talent,” said Campbell, who has been with the Redskins organization for 16 years. “You don't throw away somebody early who may have some redeeming quality or a part of the story you didn't know about.”

It’s later on that the scouts gather information on such incidents as problems with the law, failed drug tests, and other quarters of character.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often 

“Our scouts do a great job getting a lot of information,” said Campbell. “Some of the incidents you brought up happened after the season, at the combine, and just a few days ago. All those things are factored into an evaluation as they are gathered.”

With that information at hand, they start the process of elimination, deciding who fits and who doesn’t.

“When it comes close to the draft, you start weeding out all that, getting more information, deciding, OK, that guy's not our kind of guy, that guy's not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted but good luck to them,” said Campbell.

It seems like much more of a gut feel type of process than anything rigid. There is not much of a clue there as to whether or not the team will consider bringing Mixon aboard, who is inarguably one of the most talented running backs in the draft. The upside is that Mixon could provide a jolt to the team’s offense. The downside would be an immediate public relations hit. The team also must consider what will happen if Mixon were to run afoul of the NFL’s domestic abuse policy in the future, which calls for a six-game suspension for a first offense with penalties getting progressively worse if problems persist.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.