Well, if you had Week 3 in your "When Will Clinton Portis Snap During His Weekly Radio Interview" pool, you lose. Sorry. Still no snapping. Still the "we have talent, give it time, we have the same record as the Steelers" Portis.
Portis was on ESPN 980's John Thompson Show Tuesday afternoon, and while he had plenty of strong sound bites, he didn't sell anyone out. Well, besides Mike Sellers, when he faulted Sellers for going the wrong way on that first-quarter fourth-down play. But he said he wasn't throwing Sellers under the bus, so that doesn't count.
Doc Walker and John Thompson were virtually begging Portis to question Jim Zorn's playcalling and his use of Portis, but the running back refused, repeatedly. And for the second week in a row, he used extremely lofty words to describe the talent level on this team, talking about the players he thinks will make the Pro Bowl, for example.
"Right now we're going through a tough time," Portis said. "Will we make it out of it? Yes. Will it be difficult? I mean, it's a season. Our heads aren't down, we're not throwing in the towel. We've still got 13 games to go play. Now if we throw in the towel now, we're gonna be miserable, but I don't think nobody in that locker room is gonna throw in the towel....I'm not gonna sit and make this a me me me me, because it's not me me me me. As a team, I think we have something special and we can do something special, and I think we will do something special."
[Quotes are moderately approximate until I get a recording of the audio. Apologies.]
At the end of his appearance, after having said several times that he's fine with the playcalling, Portis finally admitted that he regularly offers suggestions to Zorn, Sherman Smith, Stump Mitchell, and even Greg Blache, "trying to get him to let me play safety" for a few plays. But he said his suggestions aren't a secret, and that they aren't surprising.
"My suggestion always is to play smashmouth; on defense let's play smashmouth, on offense let's play smashmouth," he said. "If you wonder what I'm thinking or what I want to do, that'll never change. Let's go mano-a-mano, you line up over there and we'll line up over here and let's do it....I can't answer why we [don't] do it. I wonder the same thing."
Still, he emphasized repeatedly that playcalling wasn't the issue, saying "Coach Zorn ain't playing football. His days over. He' s on the sideline calling plays, we've got to go out there and execute it."
Portis said he had no problem with the last-ditch hook-and-ladder call, and he said he had no problem with the call on that fourth-down play. He said Sellers bounced outside instead of going inside, and when Portis went inside, that apparently foiled the play.
"If me and Mike both go downhill, then you've got one person trying to stop me and Mike Sellers," Portis said. "Impossible, if you ask me. But running sideways, Mike bounced out, I went in and the guy made a play. That should be a walk-in touchdown."
But Portis added that Sellers played a great game, that he wasn't trying to throw him under the bus, and that 15 or 20 plays decided this game, not just one. He also said his ankles were as good as they've been in two years on Sunday, and that once he says he's ready to play, that means he'll take as much of the ball as the coaches want to give him.
"When I step on the field, that means Clinton Portis is ready to help the Washington Redskins," he said. "If you want me to block, I'll block my ass off. If you want me to run, I'll run my ass off. Whatever you want me to do, that's what I'm gonna do."
As for the media and fan firestorm, Portis again said he understands that in a bad economy, people are looking for something better than this. He compared the demand for instant results to the demands that voters are making of President Obama, and said in both cases patience is necessary. He said he even heard a woman in the Four Seasons complaining about the Redskins' struggles.
"All of the sudden we suck, we're the worst team in the NFL because we lost to the Lions," he said, summarizing the reactions around town. "The Lions got good players, man. We're 1-2, there's a lot of teams that are 1-2. We're in a situation we'd rather not be in. Have we ever started out 1-2? Yes we have. Is it a situation we can get ourselves out of? Yes, we can....
"People can't get caught up in hype. I think we're in a [big] media market, and at this point in time every story that come out in the media is we suck, we're horrible, we're overpaid, we're this, we're that. Every team in the NFL got talent and they've got playmakers. Detroit made plays and we didn't....
"I think the belief in players there. I think we're spreading the ball around. From the 20 to the 20, we're hell on wheels. It's just converting in the red zone, scoring touchdowns, coming up with more points, getting off the field on third downs, converting third downs for the offense, converting short-yardage situations....It takes patience. It takes time. It will be done in time."
The interview will be replayed on ESPN 980 at 6, and will be online later.