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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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Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan spoke to CBS Sports' Pete Prisco about the loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl and how the Falcons will rebound in 2017. 

In the process, he took a shot at former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's play-calling and put some of the blame on his style of coaching for the disastrous fourth quarter.

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan said. "As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

Those are some harsh words from Ryan and not exactly a ringing endorsement of Kyle Shanahan. This loss will surely haunt him should he never get back to another Super Bowl.

"There's always going to be a little sting," Ryan said. "You never lose that. Hopefully we've got four Super Bowl victories after this one, but that doesn't mean we won't still be like, 'Damn, let's talk about the other one we should've had."

Redskins fans may be able to relate to Matt Ryan's pain as some were vocal about Kyle Shanahan's play-calling during his time in Washington. Maybe Kirk Cousins takes notice of Ryan's comments as well before he considers San Francisco next off-season.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS STATEMENT WAS A MISTAKE, BUT WON'T HAVE IMPACT ON THE FIELD

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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

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Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

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