...Running back Clinton Portis did not practice because of his grade II sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Think we told you it was his right knee yesterday. Regardless, Portis will be a game-time decision at best. The Redskins were encouraged because he was able to straighten out his knee, but it's still hard to imagine him playing.
... Running back Ladell Betts practiced and likely will do so again Thursday and Friday. But if the Redskins don't see much burst then he likely won't play. Betts did run fine and cut OK. He has a sprained LCL; a team source said his knee sprain was more severe than Portis'. However, the grade II sprain of an MCL often results in a three-four week absence. We'll see.
...Running back Shaun Alexander would get the bulk of the duty if the other two can't go. He's getting a little more in sync with what the Redskins want from the run game. It's a different system than he was used to in Seattle and requires different cuts. He also was not known for his pass protection skills in Seattle.
...Corner Shawn Springs did not practice because of his calf injury, but he's expected to play. Linebacker Marcus Washington did not practice because of his shoulder injury. His status is uncertain for Sunday. Regardless, it's hard to imagine this isn't Washington's final seven games with th e Redskins. Great guy; great teammate; too often hurt.
...The Redskins like their matchup vs. Dallas because they feel as if the Cowboys play a little more undisciplined up front than other 3-4 teams like, say Pittsburgh or even Cleveland. It enables big creases to form. One player said it was because the Cowboys line is intent on making plays and a big name for themselves unlike Pittsburgh's workmanlike front.
...The players also feel confident if Portis doesn't play – as long as Betts is healthy. That's nothing against Alexander, but they all remember what Betts did two years ago.
...One reason Jim Zorn said the team has red zone problems: because the play in there is faster than other parts of the field. And Zorn has talked about the need to speed things up outside the red zone. When they get inside this area, the game is still a bit fast for where the offense is in terms of its development.
John Keim covers the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and is a contributing editor for Warpathinsiders.com. He has covered the team since 1994. Some of his other stories can be found at dcexaminer.com
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