Open Locker Room on Portis and Zorn

If I had to characterize the response of players at open locker room to Clinton Portis Radio Funtime, I’d say there were two basic answers. One used the word “accountability” a lot, and the other was a some variation on “What did Clinton say, exactly?”. The first offensive starter to show his face in the locker room was Antwaan Randle El, which led to this intimate scene:


“It happens,” Randle El said. “It’s part of the league, you know? You get a guy, you get a coach, flip a coin. It’s going to happen. And when it happens, you just hope they get it taken care of, and I know they got it taken care of.”

Asked what kind of distraction it would present, Randle El was blunt. “It won’t be one. We have too many leaders on the team, from Z-man’s standpoint he’s not going to allow the distraction, and Clinton — Clinton understands how important it is for us to get focused for this week.”

Convinced by Randle El’s persuasive words, the assembled media pack dropped the subject and started asking questions about Cincinnati starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Okay, not really — the questions about PortisGate kept right on rolling.

Jason Campbell‘s take on the subject was similarly blunt — “It’s only a distraction if guys let it be,” he said — but he did reveal that the team captains had led a players-only meeting this morning, and that Coach Zorn had also spoken to the team.

This was exciting news — a players-only meeting about the Clinton Portis issue! — right up until London Fletcher clarified something. “Our players-only meeting wasn’t about Clinton’s comments,” he said. Then, after being told that most of the media was in the process of following that line of questioning, he made a general announcement: “That wasn’t what our players-only meeting was about.”

“Our meeting was about us and what we need to do as far as winning on Sunday,” he said. “State of the team, and how we’re just not where we need to be. Where we’re at in our season, where we need to be, and how we’re going to accomplish what we need to accomplish.”

“It’s about each man taking ownership of what he needs to take ownership of,” Fletcher continued, “and each man believing in what we’re doing as a team, going out there practicing as a team, preparing as a team, playing together on Sundays as a team, and we feel like we can get it done.”

Casey Rabach was philosophical about the whole issue. “Clinton obviously has been controversial before. It’s just part of Clinton, you’ve just gotta take it with a grain of salt,” he said.

“It’s gonna be all right. Certainly, when it hits the fan it really hits the fan. Everybody’s trying to win and everybody’s frustrated and you see that stuff come off, but on Sundays it seems to just kind of take care of itself. Everybody’ll be on the same page, everybody’ll love everybody. It’s a dysfunctional world we live in.”

And Anthony Montgomery had the same reaction to Portis’ interview that I did. “It wasn’t a big deal to me,” he said. “It bored me. I heard on ESPN they were talking about it, so I’m like, ‘Okay, there’s some juicy stuff I’m about to hear,’ but it wasn’t nothing major, I don’t think.”

Coach Zorn did talk to the team immediately following the players-only meeting. “He briefly addressed it,” Montogomery said — mainly encouraging players to speak to him directly if there was a problem, according to a few reports — “but the biggest thing he focused on was going and playing Cincinnati.”

16 Responses

  1. everything is all good. is there any update on chad rheinhart? how is he? and y isnt he in the mix of playing time?

  2. Good for coach Z and good for the Redskins players. Don’t punk out and make this be the reason you give up on the season.

    I still say. We win 3…. we win ourselves a playoff spot and that is what matters…

    Go Skins!!!!

  3. We know we can do it, it’s just a matter of everyone getting their perverbial crap together. HAIL!!!

  4. Clinton Portis is the ultimate prima donna (is that one word or two)? The ultimate question for any team in any sport is does the production of the player warrant having to put up with his personna. As far as Zorn is concerned I think he has yet to figure out in his own mind how he wants to handle Portis. Gibbs copped out on him, he just let him take himself in and out of games when he wanted. I’m thinking Zorn finds that unnacceptable, but hasn’t figured out yet how to play the politics of this situation.
    As far as the Redskins go, they will be a middle of the pack team for the next 4 to 5 years. They will have to suffer for the bad free agent signings and wasted draft picks. They will always be around .500 will occasionally grab a wild card playoff spot, will not smell a division title or NFC championship before 2014. They will have to start stringing together years of effective drafting to get players that are young, talented, and hungry for the chance to be star sin the NFL. The Jason Taylor deal was a mistake. Even if he comes back next year and has a Pro Bowl year, he’s still on the backside of his career. Not quite a Bruce Smith, but close. The team needs the draft picks they gave up for him.

  5. I am glad they made up. But Zorn has to realize who is his bread and butter and stop thinking we are winning on his “genius” alone. Its been Portis making critical first downs and wearing out defenses and taking pressure off of Campbell. I was wondering if anyone saw First Take on ESPN. Everyone I heard commenting on it was in Clinton’s corner. Clinton was the leading rusher in the NFL. He was the one who was helping us win our games. As soon as we went away from him. That’s when we started losing. It doesn’t take a “genius” to figure that out!! ZORN STEP YOUR GAME UP!!

    ON that note. GO SKINS!! Win out!! The only “tough” game is Philly

  6. Matt, Zorn is always saying the problem with the offense is the players keep messing up. He needs to own up too. He been throwing the players under the bus from day one. We have a first time head coach and first time off cord. that needs to make adjustments. They need to learn how to put players in position to make plays, like they are doing in B-more,ATL, and miami. all 3 have rookie coachs. this system is not working, teams have figured us out, bcause we don’t make adjustments. Coaching is our problem, after 20 plus weeks our rookies can’t get on the field but other rookies on other teams are playing. It’s coaching and a lot of the players are probably feeling the same way, but portis beat them to the punch. Cooley almost let the cat out after the Dallas game

  7. To be honest, i’d be frightened if there wasn’t SOME emotional outburst somewhere on the team! and about portis being a prima donna, we don’t have a T.O. whose hype is overblown only by his big mouth and lack of execution for that amount of hype, and we don’t have a Burress, no Adam Jones, ocho cinco…you get the picture. Portis blows his top, and then puts up ridiculous numbers! let’s cut him some slack. so let’s see some of this fire on the field because we got us a season and some playoff games to win!

  8. Big Ant im with you, not once has Zorn put any blame on himself just his players. Is he really that arrogant of a person Matt? (I know you can’t really answer that question.)

  9. also… Matt. ridiculously good blog. I mean it almost has to be considering the subject matter, still, always informative and entertaining to read! i catch up all I can on my Skins because all everyone cares about down here is whether or not the saints are the “ain’ts” again. Thanks a ton and KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK! HAIL TO THE REDSKINS!

  10. Now is the time for focus on the next game and the W. As good as Portis is, the WHOLE unified team is greater than the sum of its parts.

  11. We’re finishing 7-9 – just like Chuck Knoll’s 1991 Steelers.

    Can we get 11-5 & a divisional title out of you next year, Coach Cowher?

    Portis was right.

  12. Zorn, bring on Kelly and Thomas…please!

  13. It is a huge mistake to even talk about pulling the plug on Zorn. Don’t get me wrong, his attitude is starting to bug me and he really shouldn’t claim every week that the game plan is fine. But Zorn has not struck me as being so in love with himself that he will refuse to change in the face of overwhelming evidence that his plays just aren’t working. If he still hasn’t learned next season then the topic is justifiable, but not now. Remember: the game planned worked great in the beginning of the year, and it wasn’t so much that other coaches just figured it all out, I think it was more a product of Chris Samuels being hurt basically since Pittsburg and Jansen and the rest of the line wearing down. Oh, and we played (and lost to) 4 of the best defenses in the league. And almost all of those can be chalked up to huge momentum killers that have increasingly messed up the concentration of the offense (blocked punt against Pitt, first two offensive possessions against Bmore). Now, its 100% on Zorn to refocus the team, get them fired up, and get the job done. This run coming up is not nearly as impossible seeming as 05 or 07.

    I really hope the chemistry on the team that I was so proud of as a fan is salvageable. That was our X factor, and it separated us from the Dallases of the world. Lets do it boys. Get the job done. As fans, we can do our part and stop shaking the foundation out from under the team. If we calm down, the press will back off, and the tension in the locker room will go away.

    HAIL to the Redskins.

  14. suisham missed another feild goal. vinny just traded away another draft pick and steeler fans just took over our stadium again.

  15. way to go c port…i dont see anything wrong with what u did. Somebody had to speak up. Especially the part about Jason being n his but all game. Its not all the players fault zorn has to admit alot of the plays called are so predictable. run left on first down run left secvond down bootleg right 3rd down or get in shotgun and throw short. We need to run a no huddle offense majority of the game like the colts..ason is alot better when he can mask his own decisions. Zorn open the playbook up and mke them take 8 out the box so we can run the ball…as of right now just stop clinton with 9 in the box and u stop us. Take some shots downfield and simplify the blocking scheme.

  16. Big Ant im not with you,, im with COACH ZORN. HOW MANY YEARS HAVE US REDSKINS fans BEEN WATCHING an OVER PAID UNDER ACHIEVING LOOSING FOOTBALL TEAM!!!! How many SUPER BOWL rings does Clinton Portis have….ZERO!!!!!! maybe Mike Sellers shouldnt practice either he gets hit too!Maybe the ol line shouldnt practice either,they get hit too!!! Chris Cooley is the highest paid Redskin maybe he shoudnt practice either!!! maybe COACH ZORNS JOB isnt going to be easy,taking on a Daniel Snyder owned football team,but he and his assistant coachs are well seasoned NFL people.I hope the already talk of firing COACH ZORN is only media driven .This coaching staff also needs support if the redskins are ever going to return to an elite team,coach BUGELS has how many years ? coach SHERMAN SMITH has how many years? coach BLACHE has how many years.Stump mitchell running backs and assistant head coach did what when he was playing? COACH ZORN also a player and on coaching staffs knows football!! I bet if Jack Kent Cooke still owned this team Portis would be more respectful of who”s in charge ,if the redskins cant develop a pass rush,or start pass blocking it doesnt seem that beating good football teams is going to happen,thats on the players not the coach!!!!!!!

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