Well, Jim Zorn has officially passed the fun, “everyone loves him” stage of coaching that included “Horny for Zorny” t-shirts, and is now in the full-fledged dregs of losing streaks and chemistry problems. All it took was benching star running back Clinton Portis.
(The many faces of Portis, via JUSTCALLMEJUICE. Zorn likes none of them.)
With Portis playing in only one series in the second half of Sunday night’s Washington loss to the Ravens, the running back who only a couple weeks ago was the league’s leading rusher was all too happy to unload on Zorn and the rest of the Redskins staff during his weekly appearance on the John Thompson show this afternoon. Luckily, DC SPORTS BOG was transcribing as quickly as Dan Steinberg’s little fingers would move. What do we mean by “unload on”? Well, take a gander yourself:
“We got a genius for a head coach, I don’t know, I’m sure he on top of things. He’s got everything figured out. Hey, that’s up to him. All I can do is when he calls a play is go out and try to execute to the best of my ability.”
How about this gem?:
“What I need to be around for is Sundays and that’s what I try to be around for. So I mean, if you’ve got a problem with me not practicing and can’t do it that way, maybe you feel like you need to sever ties, split ties with me? Split ties with me. But don’t sit here and throw me out like I don’t pay attention, like I don’t know what’s going on, like I’m making mistakes, I’m the problem. You know, so, it is what it is, bro.”
Oh, don’t worry. There’s even more after the jump.
Portis even played the “cheerleader card”, insisting that he’ll be a good teammate even if he’s just cheering on fellow Redskins running back Ladell Betts. In fact, he said that’s how he should be used, if that’s what the team thinks makes him valuable.
“Hey, bro, it ain’t rocket science how to use me. They can figure that out. If they want to put the ball in my hands I can try to help the team win. They don’t I’ll try to do whatever I can. If I need to cheer Ladell on, I’ll cheer Ladell on. I’m not gonna be bitter about the situation. I think Ladell went in and made some big plays. When he came off to the sideline I was the first one sitting there to talk with him about what I seen, which wasn’t much, but I think he did a hell of a job.”
“I’m fine. I’m totally healthy after not playing against Baltimore. So the good thing about it is I’ll be at practice tomorrow.”
(Zorn and Portis really haven’t ever seen eye to eye.)
There’s an undercurrent among Redskins fans and analysts that the Portis-Zorn feud may be fueled by frustration over Portis mistaking blocking assignments, a trait made significantly worse by an incident earlier this year where he refused to come off when Zorn wanted to shuttle in Shawn Alexander. That earned Portis a televised tongue lashing and, in all likelihood, set the stage for this more recent showdown.
Clearly, Portis feels that the coaching staff threw him under the bus, both by not communicating what they wanted from him and misleading the media about the severity of his injuries in the week leading up to the Baltimore game, a loss which put the Redskins’ playoff hopes in dire straights.
“Hey, they don’t tell me nothing. They don’t have to answer to me bro. One day it’s fun, it’s nice, you smile, you happy for me, you appreciate the way I play on the field, you just wish I would practice. If I could practice, I’d practice. If my injuries weren’t legit than the training room wouldn’t hold me out, they’d have me on the field.”
Anyone care to venture how this one pans out? A Zorn peace treaty? Portis running in an AFC port of call — say, Cincinnati — next year? It’s certainly ugly enough that this could be the beginning of the end, unless owner Dan Snyder gets in the middle of it … which he definitely will.
Of course, that may be just as big a problem as the feud is in the first place. Trying to figure out what Snyder is going to do is like throwing darts blindfolded; you might get some points but you’re just as likely to hit a poor, unsuspecting fat guy in the ass. Either Portis or Zorn could get the boot. Or maybe the both would. Hard to tell. It all might come down to whether Snyder like the taco he had for lunch that day.