Redskins Notebook

Zorn Is Unfazed by Portis's Comments

By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 13, 2008

Redskins Coach Jim Zorn is not concerned about running back Clinton Portis's criticism of Zorn's West Coast scheme and Washington's offensive line, Zorn said today.

In an interview Wednesday, Portis, Washington's top back since the 2004 season, said he wished he "could go to a team for one week with the best offensive line, or the team with the best scheme, and switch places with their back and see how others would do in this system."

And after Washington's revamped passing game -- which features many three- and four-wide receiver sets -- was mostly ineffective in a 16-7 season-opening loss to the New York Giants, Portis was open about his frustration having to dodge "all the people in the backfield, fighting just to get back to the line of scrimmage, and people [are] looking around like, 'Oh, he just missed it.' I'm dodging people getting the handoff, because nobody's really respecting us as a passing team."

Informed of Portis's comments after the Redskins' final practice before tomorrow's FedEx Field home opener, Zorn appeared unfazed while continuing to praise Portis, who yesterday stood by his comments.

"Do I need to say anything to him? It depends on if it was tongue-and-cheek or serious as a heart attack," Zorn said. "I would say this: He has not shown any frustration at all out at practice. He's been everything that we've wanted him to be as we've started the football season.

"He's practiced hard, and he's been willing to do it all. I mean, yeah, it is hard. He's right about that. But it's not because of the scheme or where the passing game is. Those kinds of things, he might be concerned about 'em, but he doesn't have to be concerned about 'em. And I don't see him being concerned about 'em. He hasn't expressed anything like that to me."

Early in training camp, Zorn spoke of Portis's commitment to the offseason workout program, and Zorn has been pleased with Portis's effort in learning the new offense. Portis received a $9.3 million signing bonus in March and was guaranteed at least $15.7 million through 2010 as part of a restructured contract that helped the Redskins get under the salary cap.

Washington 'Still Not Sure'

Strong-side linebacker Marcus Washington (hamstring, hip) was back at practice after sitting out the previous two days but took few reps. "It felt pretty good," Washington said. "Just trying to test it. Don't want to do anything crazy and set it back. Just trying to see what I got. Still going to be a game-time decision. Still not sure."

Washington sat out four games because of recurring hamstring problems last season, so to be slowed because of injuries at the outset of this season is "pretty frustrating," he said.

Kelly Hopes to Make Debut

Rookie wide receiver Malcolm Kelly worked a lot with the first-team offense, but Zorn would not commit to Kelly being active against the Saints. "He still, in my mind, [is] just questionable, just working his way back," Zorn said. "But I like what I see. I like his improvement. He's on his way." Kelly sat out the preseason after having arthroscopic knee surgery Aug. 4. He hopes to make his pro debut against the Saints. "I feel good about everything," Kelly said. "I went through the whole week, no pain. I'm good." . . . Linebacker Khary Campbell, who had blood drained from his right thigh this week, watched practice and is listed as doubtful. "It is responding to treatment, so that's a good thing," Campbell said. "We'll just see where it goes." Campbell, a key contributor on special teams, initially suffered a thigh bruise in practice and a pocket of blood formed in his thigh. He has limited range of motion and wore a stocking on his right leg in an attempt to improve circulation. . . . Safety Kareem Moore (hamstring) is doubtful for tomorrow.

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