Practice Report 08.22.05--Portis, LaVar May Play

Running backs coach Earnest Byner isn't afraid to needle his star player. He spent at least five minutes doing so today, having a dialogue with Clinton Portis as the special teams players went through their drills.

Byner and Portis played catch as the coach stuck it to his pupil. Not sure what Portis was saying, but it was clear Byner good naturedly was telling him ways he could fill his time better. Like with more film study. Or cardiovascular work. Or self study. ‘'There are ways to occupy your time,'' Byner told him. Then he turned sarcastic. ‘'It won't help you get better,'' he said. ‘'There's no need to do that.''

. . . Portis did practice, but it's still not certain if he'll play Friday. Gibbs wants to get him some work -- Portis has carried one time for four yards this summer.

. . . The Redskins placed corner Artrell Hawkins on injured reserve today. He hadn't practiced since Aug. 2 because of a hamstring injury.

. . . There's a chance linebacker LaVar Arrington and defensive tackle Brandon Noble will play against Pittsburgh on Friday. Arrington continues to do more in practice.

. . . End Nic Clemons (back) did not practice today. Neither did corner Walt Harris (calf).

. . . But safeties Matt Bowen (knee) and Ryan Clark (knee) both did some light running and looked good. Bowen hasn't ruled himself out for Friday, but Clark sounded more cautious about his return. Still, it doesn't appear either will be out for too long.

. . . Punter Tom Tupa is day to day with a strained back.

. . . Here's why Chris Samuels will have a good season: he's healthy for the first time since 2001 under Marty Schottenheimer. Samuels had to play with a badly sprained ankle in 2004 and, though he played well, it also prevented him from playing his best. Bull rushes gave him fits, but that shouldn't be the case this season as he'll be able to plant and drive better. The Bengals tried to bull rush him Friday, but failed. That's a good sign.

. . . After practice, receivers Steven Harris, Jamin Elliott, Rich Parson and Darnerien McCants stayed longer to work hit a one-man tackling bag. McCants supposedly has improved on special teams, but still not sure we've seen the proof of that.

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