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Portis vs Zorn a lose-lose situation

Portis vs Zorn a lose-lose situation

Clinton Portis needs to shut up.

Jim Zorn needed to speak up.

In choosing to blast Zorn on the John Thompson show (boy, Snyder owning that station really has stifled criticism of the team, hasn't it?), Portis created a distraction at exactly the time that the team did not need it. After sitting out most of the second half of last Sunday's game against the Ravens, Portis had two full days to figure out what he was going to say about it on his weekly radio appearance on ESPN980 with the former Georgetown basketball coach.

He chose to be still angry about the fact that he sat out the last 30 minutes of the team's 24-10 loss and to express that anger in a mix of sarcastic comments and resignation.

In other words, he chose to show his spoiled, selfish, high-maintenance diva side.

Appearing on the same radio station later in the day, Zorn reiterated what he said on Sunday and Monday, that Portis sat out the half because he hadn't been able to practice all week. The Ravens were bringing a lot of different looks and blitzes ("exotic" blitzes as John Madden said about 1,000 times). Zorn felt it was important to have a back who actually had executed the protection schemes on the practice field in the game. That was Ladell Betts.

The problem is that Zorn had a few opportunities to talk to Portis about his line of reasoning, to explain his logic and to soothe the player's rather substantial ego. He thought that it was important enough to talk to the press about on Sunday night and Monday afternoon, but he didn't find the time to sit down with Portis and set things straight.

In other words, he chose to display his inexperience as a head coach.

Portis protested that he knew the schemes, that he had been at the meetings and had paid attention at practice. This seems to be the heart of his complaint.

"If I can run through the week, I'd practice. If I can't, then I ain't. And I'm not gonna force myself to go onto a field and do something crazy and then all of the sudden I'm out. What I need to be around for is Sundays, and that's what I try to be around for. So I mean, if you've got a problem with me not practicing and can't do it that way, maybe you feel like you need to sever ties, split ties with me? Split ties with me. But don't sit here and throw me out like I don't pay attention, like I don't know what's going on, like I'm making mistakes, I'm the problem.

If Zorn had explained to Portis that he understood why he couldn't practice during the week and that he simply had to do what he thought was best for the team, this whole issue could have been avoided. Portis could have spoken his mind behind closed doors and, while it's unlikely that he would have been happy about it, he would have had the chance to get it off his chest. Since he wasn't given the chance to do so, he decided to go nuclear and speak his mind to the world.

That doesn't mean that Portis had to do it. The part where he talks about severing ties is particularly galling. He just got a bunch of guaranteed money in the offseason and in doing so he made it virtually impossible for the Redskins to sever ties. Portis has had plenty of opportunity to shine under Zorn this year but when the road gets a little bumpy he starts to talk about bailing out.

It remains to be seen how much effect Portis' comments will have on the locker room. He's not exactly a leader on the team. His comments earlier in the year about his offensive line and about how the team didn't seem to be focused going into the game against the Rams have created a "Clinton is Clinton" mentality among his teammates. Some may grate privately at what he says but to a man they admire his attitude and production between the lines.

In other words, the ripple effects are likely to be minimal.

This time.

If Zorn continues to speak to his players though the press rather than taking his issues up with them in private, things could begin to get sticky.

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Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

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Lucky Whitehead a victim of mistaken identity according to police

It's been a confusing stretch for Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead. 

The charges against the Bealeton, Virginia native have now been dropped, after it was determined by Prince William County Police that Whitehead is not the man accused of shoplifting at a convenience store in Woodbridge, Virginia on June 22.

Here's the full statement released Tuesday:

Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017 arrest of an individual named “Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.”, the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court, is not Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys.

The man charged on the morning of June 22 was not in possession of identification at the time of the encounter; however, did verbally provide identifying information to officers, which included a name, date of birth, and social security number matching that of Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr. Officers then checked this information through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database.

The DMV photo on file was then used to compare to the man who was in custody. Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided. At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead’s identify was falsely provided to police during the investigation.

The police department is currently seeking the identity of the man involved in the incident. Since the identifying information provided by the arrestee during the investigation was apparently false, the police department is working with the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to clear Mr. Whitehead from this investigation. The police department regrets the impact these events had on Mr. Whitehead and his family. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Cowboys hadn't officially released Whitehead on Monday, despite reports to the contrary. 

 

Although it's looking like he still may be looking for a new home.

 

 

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Redskins 2017 training camp preview—defense

Redskins 2017 training camp preview—defense

RICHMOND— The Redskins will assemble here tomorrow to get ready for the 2017 season. There are plenty of position competitions and other storylines. Here is a look at what we at CSN will be paying attention to. The key points on offense were published earlier; here’s a look at the defense.

Rebuilding the line

In a way, the situation on the D-line is similar to the one at wide receiver in that free agency and a release has created some holes. Chris Baker, the team’s best defensive lineman last year, left for Tampa Bay as a free agent and Ricky Jean Francois, arguably the second-best DL last year, was cut.

This is not all bad news. The wide receivers were one of the strengths of the team. The D-line was one of the weak spots so perhaps doing some major renovating there is just what the unit needs.

RELATED: Redskins 53-man roster projection, defense

The big move was one they really hadn’t planned on. Defensive end Jonathan Allen was projected by many to be a top-10 draft pick. But he slipped right into the Redskins’ lap with the 17th pick. He gets to work on Thursday and the sooner he can get up to NFL speed the better. They also signed two free agents in Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain and they re-signed Ziggy Hood. As with Allen, their roles will be determined over the course of the next few weeks of practice and during the preseason games.

Nobody knows who is going to end up playing nose tackle. It could be McGee, Hood, former first-round pick Phil Taylor or one of the 2016 practice squad members, Joey Mbu or A. J. Francis. The fact that there is no obvious candidate is troubling and perhaps a sign that the line will show only marginal improvement this year.

Starters at ILB

The Redskins got an upgrade here late in free agency with the signing of Zach Brown, who was last seen playing in the Pro Bowl for the Bills. How he fits in with incumbent starters Will Compton and Mason Foster remains to be seen. All three are likely to earn substantial playing time and who plays in what situation will be sorted out here in Richmond.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, 11-20

Adjustments at safety

The Redskins could be set at safety for the next several seasons. Or they could be scrambling to make adjustments by midseason. Su’a Cravens moves to strong safety from outside linebacker. He may be a step slower than the ideal for his position and he needs to make up for it by being, as he likes to say, assignment perfect. The Redskins signed D. J. Swearinger, who has been a strong safety for most of his career, to play free safety.

When the dust settles, they could be the best safety tandem the Redskins have had in years. Or they could be showing the effects of trying to put square pegs into round holes.

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.