Five Issues

From a setback with Clinton Portis to the Shawn Springs situation. We take a look at five pressing issues.


During an team workout on May 15, running back Clinton Portis complained of soreness in his knee. He was sent to Alabama where team consultant Dr. James Andrews diagnosed Portis with patella tendinitis. It is the third different injury in the last year for Portis, who is only 25 but has a ton of NFL miles on his body. Although the team isn't concerned about Portis' availability for training camp, they should proceed carefully with No. 26. The shoulder injury required major surgery, as did the broken hand. Now with a sore knee, the Redskins – although they have Ladell Betts in the bullpen – can't afford another September with a gimpy Portis.


Much to the delight of coach Joe Gibbs, safety Sean Taylor made his organized team activity debut on May 15. Taylor was not present for the first week of the program, raising all kinds of suspicions. But in what can only be termed as a wise decision, Taylor is now on-board with the Redskins' show-up-even-though-you-don't-to philosophy (for the time being). It is even more important that Taylor is at the complex because he'll be working with a player (LaRon Landry) less experienced than he is for the first time as a safety tandem. It's time for Taylor to become a leader.


The Redskins have a lot of faults, on the field and in the front office. The list is too long to get into. But here's the good thing about this team and it makes for a mostly harmonious offseason: They don't do stupid things off-the-field. The quarterback isn't involved in dog fighting. They don't have guys who get arrested with an arsenal in their basement. And they don't get their picture taken at the police station. There's something to be said for that. Now if they can translate their good off-the-field behavior into good on-the-field performance, they would have something.


Here's what reporters do when they're watching an offseason practice that includes no pads, no hitting and no real yelling by the coaches: They pick their 53-man roster. Most of the decisions are of course easy because the Redskins don't exactly have a wealth of depth. But one to watch is the No. 3 running back race – Rock Cartwright vs. Derrick Blaylock. A lot of this will depend on the health of Portis. If he starts the season at less than 100 percent, Blaylock is the likely choice because of his experience as a runner/blocker. If Portis is healthy, Cartwright is the likely choice because of his special teams play.


For those Redskins fans worried about Shawn Springs' no-show stance through the first two weeks of offseason practices, don't be concerned. This is a veteran who knows how to get ready for a season physically and will assume his leadership role upon his return to Redskin Park. And, frankly, Springs deserves to play with the Redskins a little bit. They want him to take a pay cut, he doesn't want to (as is his right) and now they're bellyaching about him not being here. It's interesting to watch the team twist in the wind a little bit instead of the player.

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