Portis, Moss, Brunell Headline Injury List

By Jason La Canfora and Rich Campbell
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Washington Redskins' two most dynamic offensive cogs, running back Clinton Portis and wide receiver Santana Moss, both suffered injuries in Sunday's loss and are among a large contingent of hurting players entering the bye week. Washington's offense has been erratic even with Portis and Moss but, at 2-5 and with Dallas up next, losing either of them would be a significant blow.

Portis wore a walking cast on his left ankle yesterday, suffering from what the team is calling a high ankle sprain. Moss has a strained left hamstring. Neither is expected to participate in the two days of practice this week before players depart for the extended weekend off. Quarterback Mark Brunell has a strained rib muscle and could miss practice today as well, said Bubba Tyer, the team's director of sports medicine, and wide receiver Antwaan Randle El is nursing a sore heel.

Starting linebacker Lemar Marshall (ankle) and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (hip) both missed Sunday's game but are expected to practice next Monday, Coach Joe Gibbs said. Starting cornerback Carlos Rogers missed the game with a broken thumb, but he had his cast removed and is likely to return to practice next week.

Overall, Tyer said, the severity of most of the injuries does not appear to be extreme but that it is too soon to project the players' status for the next game.

Moss declined to comment on his injury, and Portis says he is looking forward to his bye-week vacation.

"I'm getting . . . away from here," Portis said. "I know when he says we can go, I'm out of here."

Staying Positive

Gibbs expressed concern yesterday with the inconsistency of the offense, and Al Saunders, the associate head coach-offense, said the unit is not where he wants it to be, either. However, despite widespread concern about the limited scoring and the stalled progress of the passing and running games, Saunders said not all is lost.

"There's lots of things we're doing very well, and lots of things we're doing better than most teams in the NFL," he said after the loss to Indianapolis. "Coming into this game our yards per play average was the best in the NFL. What that would tell you is we just need more plays. Our rushing average -- 4.6 [yards] per play -- is in the top five in NFL. Our yards per pass play is in the top five of the NFL.

"But what we're not doing is winning football games, and everything else is transcended by that and it makes everybody feel less than adequate. There's frustration involved. The most important thing is to focus on the things we're doing well and continue to do those and take the things we aren't doing quite as well and improve those."

The Redskins have 14 offensive touchdowns in seven games, and eight of those came in consecutive wins over Houston and Jacksonville; they have six offensive touchdowns in their five defeats. They have one offensive touchdown in three games against NFC opponents.

Keeping Cool

Television cameras captured an animated exchange between wide receivers Brandon Lloyd and Randle El on Sunday, but numerous players and Gibbs said that Randle El was trying to calm his frustrated teammate. Lloyd has been unproductive this season -- 11 catches -- and was again invisible Sunday after making three early catches. "We were keeping each other cool," Randle El said. . . .

Gibbs said the Redskins should not have sent Derrick Frost out to punt from the 5-yard line Sunday after penalties pushed back a kickoff. The team thought it could take a free kick, but was wrong. . . .

Gibbs said Brunell would remain his starting quarterback when asked about the position again yesterday. . . . The Redskins signed journeyman offensive lineman Taylor Whitley yesterday and released journeyman Tyson Walter, who did not appear in a game for the team. Whitley played two games on special teams for Denver last season.

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