Zac Boyer will be entering his third season covering the Washington Redskins for The Free Lance-Star this fall. Make sure to follow Zac on Twitter (@ZacBoyer) for the latest updates or e-mail him with any questions at email@example.com.
Portis is sore but working toward Monday night
Running back Clinton Portis on his radio show this morning did not gauge his status for Monday night’s game against Philadelphia, but it sounds as if his torn groin muscle would have to make significant progress for him to be available.
“I think just getting through the process of being back on the field, you know, pushing through, seeing where I’m at, trying to make sure it’s not going to be a major setback in my recovery,” Portis said on 106.7 The Fan. “Yesterday I got a chance to go out and do some work and see how I feel, and I came in sore this morning. I’m in therapy now. We’ve got all week to work on this and try to get it right, and hopefully I can step on the field Monday night.”
Portis tore a groin muscle off the bone against Philadelphia on Oct. 3, and he was expected to miss four to six weeks. He practiced last Tuesday and yesterday, but coach Mike Shanahan has said it would take at least two weeks for Portis to return to football shape after he resumed practicing.
Portis also insisted that maligned starting quarterback Donovan McNabb knows the playbook and is still the team’s leader.
“I think it’s a lot of words, man,” Portis said of the playbook. “I think when you’ve got a 45-second span to call one of our plays, if you’re not familiarized—you could say ‘Z’ or ‘T’ and that will change the whole play. I think it’s a work in progress. For the most part, he know it.
“I think that’s a lot when you’re thinking ‘Gator,’Tiger,’ ‘Zebra’ and, you know, ‘G’ and ‘Z.’ You can be in ‘Z’ personnel and it sound like ‘G’ and you say ‘G’ instead of ‘Z,’ and that would have the wrong guy moving. So that’s a lot of terminology. He’s pretty good with it.”
Regarding McNabb’s leadership: “You can’t just say ‘offense,’ he’s the leader of this team,” Portis said. “It’s rare you find a guy on and off the field such as a Donovan McNabb that you have the luxury of playing with. I think so many people put all of this on Donovan McNabb, and it’s not him. You’ve got to protect Donovan McNabb. You can’t have him on his back. You can’t have him shell-shocked.”
Portis, as other players and coaches have said, believes the offense’s problems go much deeper than the quarterback.
“Everybody is going to look at Donovan, like, ‘Oh, Donovan got pulled.’ I think there were numerous opportunities for other guys to prevent that,” Portis said. “If we step up and make a play for Donovan, whether the ball is tipped in the air or thrown low or overthrown, he have a bad pitch, you can’t never leave your quarterback out to dry. If he had a bad pitch, I’ve got to find a way to catch it and get us back to the line of scrimmage. We’ve just got to cover for him.”
Portis also spoke highly of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, whose relationship with McNabb has been scrutinized in the aftermath of Mike Shanahan’s decision to bench McNabb with the outcome in doubt against Detroit on Oct. 31.
“I think Kyle brings a lot of excitement with his play-calling ability,” he said. “I think once we grasp this offense as a whole and the whole team get it down, the excitement—I mean, you’ll see us go out and slang the ball around and put up yards. When we come back in, we see the opportunities that we miss and how we could have put a game away in the second or third quarter and not even have been down to these last possessions battling. I think once we all grasp the concept and get the whole, as a team, get some familiarity with the system, it’s gonna be awesome.”