Portis questions Campbell’s leadership during radio interview

During a recent radio interview with ESPN980, Redskins running back Clinton Portis questioned why quarterback Jason Campbell was made a team captain and he wasn’t, then essentially questioned the signal caller’s leadership ability.

From NFL.com:

Asked on ESPN980 why Campbell was a team captain and he wasn’t, Portis replied: “I wonder the same thing. It’s no disrespect to Jason, but everybody in that locker room will tell you — you will never see Jason mad, you will never see Jason’s tempo change.”

Portis continued: “(He’s) going to give you everything (he’s) got. But as a leader … it was always, ‘Jason couldn’t take control of the huddle,’ or ‘He didn’t do this’ or ‘He didn’t do that.’ That wasn’t Jason’s character. … I think Jason, you can’t place so much on somebody who’s not ready for that situation. I think Jason has enough trouble in getting the plays in and worrying about this, compared to controlling the huddle.”

Portis told ESPN980 that Campbell isn’t the type of player who would go to a coach and say, “‘Well, we need to do this or we need to do that,’ or ‘This is how the players want it.'”

Campbell wasn’t pleased about Portis’ comments and responded to them during a Tuesday telephone interview with The Washington Post.
“How is he going to say I’m not a leader?” Campbell said. “I mean, that’s just not true. To me, that’s somebody who shows that they don’t know what a real leader is. A leader is not someone who leads by the wrong example. A leader is someone who is trying to do the right thing and trying to lead by example, and not just [being] about themselves.

“There’s a reason guys get selected as captains, and there’s a reason guys don’t get selected as captains. Obviously, he doesn’t have the respect of the locker room to be a captain. For someone to try to take a shot at me at the end of the season, after they haven’t even been around, only speaks about their character anyways.”

Campbell informed The Post via text message Wednesday that Portis had called him to clear the air. The text read: “We’re just going to move on. We don’t want to have any issues out there between us for the offseason, so we’re just going to squash all of this right now.”

I agree with what Campbell said. Leaders don’t talk about internal matters with the media, even if they sandwich what critical comments around positive reinforcement. It’s great that the two of them cleared the air, but Portis was still in the wrong here.

That said, maybe there is something to what Portis said about Campbell’s leadership skills. Nobody can argue that Campbell doesn’t work hard and give everything he has for his team. That guy took a beating this year behind a bad offensive line and he kept showing up the next Sunday. But there’s a major difference between being a good teammate and being a leader.

There’s a good chance that neither of these players will be back in Washington next year. With Mike Shanahan taking over the reigns, one would assume that he’d make wholesale changes and clean house. But we’ll have to see what transpires in Washington over the course of the next couple months.


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Different playcaller, same lousy result for Redskins

After their loss to the winless Kansas City Chiefs last week, the Washington Redskins stripped head coach Jim Zorn of his playcalling duties and handed them over to Sherman Lewis, who hadn’t even been with the team for a month.

The move was made in hopes to spark the Redskins’ dismal offense, but as their 27-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles tonight can attest to, Lewis isn’t going to change Washington’s misfortune over night.

The Redskins’ loss to the Eagles actually had very little to do with Lewis’ playcalling and more to do with Washington’s lack of execution. In the first half, quarterback Jason Campbell had a ball batted into the air by a defensive lineman and intercepted by linebacker Will Witherspoon, who returned it for a touchdown. Later in the half, Campbell escaped the pocket but didn’t get the ball out of his hands in time and was stripped from behind. The Eagles recovered and turned the gift into three points to take a 17-0 second quarter lead.

Campbell finished the night 29 of 43 passing for 284 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. For all intents and purposes, his final numbers weren’t bad (he had a QB rating of 91.6), but he often settled for check downs or underneath routes and both of his touchdown passes came around the goal line. He still struggled with hanging onto the ball too long and missing open receivers.

That said, his pass protection wasn’t that great and his receivers dropped a few passes. He also didn’t have Chris Cooley, who left the game early in the first half due to an ankle injury and never returned. All in all, it was a complete team effort by a Redskins squad that somehow generated 17 points from a brutal showing. Lewis wasn’t the problem tonight – lack of execution by the players was.

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Lions finally win as hot seat gets hotter for Zorn

Lion fans, you’re suffering is finally over.

Thanks to a solid effort by Matthew Stafford (21 of 36, 241 yards, 1 TD) and Kevin Smith (16 carries, 101 yards), the Lions won their first game since December 23 of 2007 with a 19-14 victory over the Redskins on Sunday.

One of the players that will be overlooked in this victory for Detroit is rookie linebacker DeAndre Levy, who started in place of the injured Ernie Sims. Levy made two consecutive tackles on running back Clinton Portis inside the 5-yard-line on third and fourth down to stop the Redskins early in the first half and led the Lions in tackles at halftime. On the day, Levy finished with six tackles and one tackles for loss as Detroit held Washington to only 65 rushing yards. His efforts shouldn’t go overlooked.

Not to take away from the Lions’ big day, but this loss is going to loom large for Washington head coach Jim Zorn. His offense generated 390 total yards, but a week after barely beating the Rams, the Redskins were held out of the end zone by a brutal Detroit defense until early in the third quarter and then failed to score when they got the ball back with just over a minute remaining.

The Lions were eventually going to win again. But you just can’t be that team that losses to Detroit, especially when you’re a Redskins team that was heavily criticized the week before. How can you be 1-2 on the year when two of your first three games are against the Rams and Lions? The players may still believe in Zorn, but he is going to come under major fire over the next week and may not be long for Washington’s head coaching job.

I realize that guys like Albert Haynesworth and London Fletcher were hurt. But what an embarrassing loss for Zorn and the Redskins. How can you only muster 13 points playing against the Lions and after totaling 390 yards? There’s just no excuse and barring a big turnaround, this could be the start of Zorn being ushered out of Washington.

Which running backs drop the ball the most?

When it comes to fumbles, nobody drops the ball more than quarterbacks, because they handle the ball more than anyone besides the center. Brett Favre has 157 of them, which leads active players (yes, we’re considering Favre active). But many times when a QB fumbles, he can pounce right back on the ball. Running backs are a different story. The ones who fumble a lot often wind up in their coach’s doghouse because most of the time it’s because of careless ball handling. As for fantasy football, you’ll want to be careful with these guys too because they take points off your scoreboard, both by negative points for fumbles, and for lost opportunities on offense. So here is the active Top 10 in fumbles by running backs…..

1. Edgerrin James (43)—James isn’t as bad as early in his career, like when he fumbled 8 times during his rookie year of 1999 with the Colts. But you tend to look the other way when the other numbers offset the fumbles—and James was an All Pro that year with 2139 yards from scrimmage and 17 total touchdowns.

2. Ricky Williams (41)—Ricky definitely comes down with fumble-it is pretty often, and that has to drive Bill Parcells crazy. I wonder if it would help if Ricky thought he was carrying a bag of..…oh forget it.

3. Jamal Lewis (39)—Lewis has improved drastically in this area, fumbling only twice last season. But he fumbled 8 times in back to back seasons in 2002 and 2003 while with Baltimore. Yikes.

4. Ahman Green (37)—He hasn’t fumbled since 2006, but that’s only because Green has carried the ball just 144 times since then.

5. Michael Pittman (31)—Pittman was one of like 15 running backs used by the Broncos last season.

6. Shaun Alexander (31)—For a few years there, Alexander was putting up such ridiculous numbers that Mike Holmgren was forced to accept some drops.

7. Warrick Dunn (26)—He’s never had more than 4 fumbles in a season, but he’s been playing for so long that he wound up on here. Dunn may be one of the most underrated RBs in the history of the NFL.

8. Fred Taylor (26)—Taylor has fumbled less in recent years, but he’s also carried the ball less. It should be interesting to see if his career is re-ignited in a Patriots’ uniform.

9. LaDainian Tomlinson (25)—He fumbled 8 times in his rookie year, and only 17 times since. With 2657 total carries, that’s not bad at all.

9 (tie). Clinton Portis (25)—Portis is a solid RB, but he does have two quirks—he’s injury prone and he drops the ball a few too many times.

Source: Pro Football Reference

Top 10 active NFL touchdown leaders

Sometimes when deciding who you’re going to pick at your fantasy football draft, it’s easy to be infatuated with yardage and not with touchdowns, but TDs are really where the points are at. With the 2008 season now over, here is a look at the all-time active NFL leaders are in touchdowns, either rushing or receiving. Some names will not surprise you, but a few others might, but either way, you fantasy geeks can file this article away for when you start your preseason research:

1. Terrell Owens, Dallas Cowboys (141)—T.O. causes trouble everywhere he goes, but on the field he has a knack for finding the end zone, usually after he’s blown past a defender. And the best part for fantasy GMs is that you don’t have to actually interact with the guy like Jerry Jones does.

1. LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers (141)—The scary thing about LT is he’s only 29. The really scary thing, though, is that he’s gone from a league-record 28 rushing scores in 2006 to 15 in 2007 to 11 in 2008. He probably won’t be drafted first overall again in 2009, but LT is still a first rounder.

3. Randy Moss, New England Patriots (136)—Moss has had an up and down career, but the one number you can never ignore is 23—the NFL single-season receiving TD mark he set in 2007 when he and Tom Brady were lighting up scoreboards. And Brady should be back in ’09.

4. Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis Colts (128)—A knee injury ended Harrison’s 2007 season prematurey, and he was not as effective in 2008 usual, scoring only 5 times. Throw in some off the field issues, and while Marvin has put up huge career numbers catching passes from Peyton Manning, you have to believe the end of that career is in sight.

5. Shaun Alexander, free agent (112)—Has anyone seen a running back’s career decline so sharply? Dude broke the NFL record with 27 rushing TDs in 2005, but an injury limited Alexander to only 20 starts since then with two different teams. 112 might stay at 112.

6. Edgerrin James, Arizona Cardinals (91)—James reached double digits in touchdowns four times while playing in Indianapolis. And he’s reached double digits in Arizona too—16 scores, but over three seasons. He showed in the playoffs that he still has some juice left, but on a Cardinals’ team focused on the pass, don’t expect James to reach 100 before 2010.

6. Isaac Bruce, San Francisco 49ers (91)—Fifteen years in the league will give you a chance to put up close to 100 touchdowns, but it’s not like Isaac Bruce doesn’t have skills, even at the ripe old football age of 36.

8. Joey Galloway, Tampa Bay Bucs (83)—Galloway is another guy who has sipped from the fountain of youth, but he missed most of the 2008 season.

9. Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City Chiefs (76)—Gonzalez caught 96 passes for 1058 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008, one of his best seasons yet, to earn first team All Pro at the age of 32. He may not be back in KC in 2009, but no matter where he lands, he’s always a good fantasy tight end.

10. Clinton Portis, Washington Redskins (76)—With 76 career rushing and receiving touchdowns, Portis is a solid fantasy player, but no LT. Then again, LT is no LT anymore either.

Source: Pro Football Reference

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