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Backup Pucillo Put on IR

In the first half of the season, offensive lineman Mike Pucillo played in the jumbo package.
In the first half of the season, offensive lineman Mike Pucillo played in the jumbo package. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
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By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 28, 2007

The Washington Redskins placed reserve guard Mike Pucillo, who has been suffering from back problems, on injured reserve yesterday, ending his season. The team signed tackle Kevin Sampson from the practice squad. Otherwise, the Redskins had a full complement of players at practice except quarterback Jason Campbell, who will not play Sunday because of his injured knee.

Fullback Mike Sellers, who suffered a concussion Sunday night, was in pads and fully participated in practice. He said he intends to play Sunday against Dallas.

Wide receiver Keenan McCardell, who missed Sunday's game with a calf strain, also practiced, as did reserve linebacker Khary Campbell, who has an injured finger. Tight end Todd Yoder, who has been out with a knee injury, saw limited work in practice.

Pucillo was more heavily involved in the offense in the first half of the season, serving in the team's jumbo package. However, Lorenzo Alexander, a converted defensive lineman, is now shining in that role. Pucillo also was a reserve center. Starting left guard Pete Kendall could replace starting center Casey Rabach if needed; Kendall has played center, and worked as a center in training camp with the New York Jets before being traded to Washington.

Portis Honored

Tailback Clinton Portis was named the NFC's offensive player of the week yesterday following his performance in Washington's victory at Minnesota. Portis had not received the award previously as a Redskin.

While Portis has not been putting up gaudy numbers in the running game, he has been a multifaceted weapon. Portis ran 20 times against the Vikings for 76 yards -- less than robust production, but solid considering it came against the NFL's top-ranked rushing defense. He also caught five passes for 48 yards and threw a 15-yard touchdown pass.

"Around here a big stat game is hard to come by," Portis said. "People fail to realize that. Seventy-six yards around here is big time for me. I done had some 20-, 30-yard games, and all of a sudden that makes you put the stats all to the side, and it becomes a team game."

Portis, who says an improved diet has made him lighter and in better shape this season, has been more involved in the passing game in recent weeks. He caught six balls for 86 yards -- a career high for yardage -- against the Chicago Bears on Dec. 6 and his 43 receptions this season are a career best. Portis has 362 receiving yards, two shy of his previous best set in his rookie season with Denver in 2002.

Portis said that opposing teams have not blitzed as much lately, allowing him to run more pass patterns. "Teams done got away from sending that bonsai blitz," Portis said. "I've been punishing linebackers."

Good Guys Named

Two Redskins were awarded the annual Good Guy award by the local media yesterday, with quarterback Campbell and linebacker London Fletcher splitting the votes. . . . Dallas Coach Wade Phillips began his stint as head coach of Buffalo in 1998, just as Redskins quarterback Todd Collins was ending his time with the Bills. Collins went 10 years before he would get another start. "I was there when he started 10 years ago," Phillips said on a conference call. "He evidently kept studying the game and was ready any time. That is what it takes."


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