Chicken Little, Alive and Blogging

By Mike Wise
Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Pro Bowl lineman is out for a month, the breakaway back is suffering from tendinitis and the most dangerous deep threat is nursing a sore groin. Chris Samuels, Clinton Portis and Santana Moss were all joined on the did-not-practice list yesterday morning by Randy Thomas (knee) and Marcus Washington (hip). Did we mention Jason Fabini is also nursing an injury (ego)?

It may not be DEFCON 1 in Ashburn, but don't tell a few worried and neurotic folks in the blogosphere, where one poster writes: "What's the point of waiting to panic in October? The gray skies descend upon us and the chill of autumn lingers like a used bathrobe." Or this from DCSween: "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?"

And my personal favorite, from groundhogdayguy: "Don't worry. The Skins have a 3rd round pick next year, so we can trade for a backup running back to beef up the inactive list."

Sad and subversive as it is, I usually like to stoke such fears. I have no problem contributing to the insecurity of any team's core fan base. But on this note I have to say: People, it's the first of August, not the Ides of March. Breathe deeply. Go to your happy place, you know, the one where you can relax and think about your fantasy football team.

Portis is going to be fine. He wants to rest his body in training camp. He needs to rest his body in training camp. Portis hates, hates, hates training camp, which naturally raises suspicions about the timing of this tendinitis. Frankly, tendinitis isn't something that is serious unless you're an aging basketball superstar trying for a comeback. Clinton Portis is all of 25; he isn't being fitted for a prosthesis just yet.

Moss is also taking precautions for all the right reasons. He's a veteran who knows his body and understands how important it is to enter the season at full strength while everybody else competes for playing time in the summer.

If I were Moss, I would kick my feet up and watch reruns of "Entourage" until Sept. 9, when the tweaks and twinges will be gone. It's not as if he's going to be stripped of his No. 1 wide receiver title heading into the season. Remember, this is a team that today has no No. 2 wide receiver. Now, if they had traded for Randy Moss, Santana might have had to work this month.

Randy Thomas? You're worried about Randy Thomas's balky knee? I would be more worried about Thomas's competitive-eating tendencies than I would his knee. The man can put away barbecue. Thomas was actually asked yesterday why he came back from injury so soon when he could obviously milk his ailment longer.

"Milk?" he replied. "You can't milk me. I don't even like milk."

Thomas can take it easy, too. He plays on the offensive line, which is as deep as Paris Hilton. That's why Fabini is probably wounded. The guy they put at left tackle yesterday did not start 114 NFL games at the position like Fabini, because undrafted Maryland rookie Stephon Heyer was in pass protection against Wake Forest a year ago. Come on, Fabini, you're better than that.

As for Marcus Washington, he's already back. He practiced last night, making it for at least one of the two-a-days.

So that leaves Samuels as the only real concern. He is, in essence, a player-coach, one of the main reasons Derrick Dockery excelled last season and got himself a nice contract in Buffalo. He would have been invaluable over the next month in helping Todd Wade make the tackle-to-guard adjustment. And just as Portis's shoulder injury lingered for much of last season, so too could the pain in Samuels's right knee after he suffered a sprain over the weekend. How often do we hear "four to five weeks" from an NFL team and it becomes six to eight weeks?

Still, even in Samuels's case, a little perspective. Please.

Look, I understand how badly fans want to see this team win, but there is a bit of Cubness to the Redskins legions, whereby every turned ankle becomes the beginning to that inexorable march to another losing season.

But it's not time for that. It's only Day Six. The Redskins scrimmage against the Ravens on Saturday. The preseason is still nine days away. Hold off the neurosis for at least another month.

Yes, Portis, Washington, Shawn Springs and Cornelius Griffin were injured at this time a year ago. Key players started getting banged up early and they parlayed an ugly 0-4 preseason into a 5-11 nightmare. But this is a new day, people. Chin up. Go back to your jobs. Step away from the Internet.

If Kili Lefotu has a hangnail, then it's time to panic.


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