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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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Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

RICHMOND—While Kirk Cousins has had a lot of success in his first two seasons as the Redskins’ starting quarterback, he and the team didn’t finish last season the way they wanted to. They lost four of their last six games to finish out of a playoff spot. With the game on the line in the season finale against the Giants, Cousins threw an interception as the team was driving for a late score to win or tie the game. The loss was the final blow to their playoff hopes.

As with any disappointing situation, Cousins and the team must walk a line between learning from the mistakes that were made—and there were many beyond the Cousins interception—and dwelling on the past. Cousins said today that the failure to make the playoffs will help drive the team this year.

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“I think what it does is it gives us an edge, because we stay humble and hungry because we left the season realizing we do have a long ways to go,” Cousins said of the late-season woes. “We do need to improve if we want to go in the direction that we all believe we can. In that sense we’ll take the silver lining that nobody is content, nobody is entitled, nobody feels like we can rest on what we’ve done in the past.”

While they can focus on the silver lining for now, Cousins says that they realize that coming close to the playoffs but missing out year after year won’t cut it. That’s what gets coaches fired and leads to players losing their jobs.

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“We do feel like a lot rides on this season up ahead,” he said. “Hopefully, that gives us a sense of urgency all through training camp to be really focused, and as a result gets the best out of every one of us so that our team can play as well as we possibly can.”

Cousins is playing on the one-year franchise tag. He has been quick to point out that many of his teammates are either on one-year deals or in the final season of a multi-year deal. Cousins is one of over a dozen starters or key contributors who will become free agents in 2018. If they are going to stay around they can’t go 2-4 down the stretch like they did last year.

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.

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Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

RICHMOND—As Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins goes into playing under the franchise tag for the second straight season, the phrase commonly used about him is that he is betting on himself, eschewing the long-term security of a multiyear deal in favor hoping to improve his leverage by playing on the tags.

However, Cousins said that is a misconception.

“I don’t know that I ever bet on myself, I bet on the system, he said. “It has nothing to do with myself. I’m just going out and playing and there’s never been anything but positive feelings. I’m excited to get to work here. As I’ve said, my wife and I love it here and we’re in a good place.”

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Ever since the deadline for him to sign a long-term contract this year came and went without a new deal, Cousins has been trying to debunk the notion that he has a desire to leave the Redskins as soon as he can. Appearing on 106.7 The Fan last week, Cousins said that the Redskins are his “first choice” to be his team going forward. He talked positively about his future in Washington again today after the Redskins first training camp walkthrough.

Although there was talk that the contract negotiations took a sour turn at the end after team president Bruce Allen revealed some of the details of the team’s final offer to Cousins, Cousins indicated today that everything is fine.

“W e’ve done a good job communicating between me and the team,” he said. “We’re on the same page and we’ve done everything we can possibly do to get that settled and move forward. I think we’re all in a good place right now and we’ve got enough to worry about getting our offense playing at the level we need to have a great season so I can be back in future years.”

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

What it really comes down to, what Cousins believes will make things good in the future for him and the Redskins, is success on the field.

“If you win football games, everything else takes care of itself,” he said.

“In the offseason, the ball’s in the team’s court. But from Week 1 to Week 17, the ball’s in my court and I’ve got to go play football well. That’s where my focus is.”

There likely will be more talk of Cousins future beyond the 2017 seas in the coming weeks and months. It appears that for right now that is the furthest thing from Cousins’ mind.

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.