- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Washington Redskins coaches yesterday refuted running back Clinton Portis’ claim that the Cleveland Browns knew the Redskins’ offensive plays in Washington’s 17-13 loss Sunday.

Coach Joe Gibbs and his staff reviewed game tape for signs of play-stealing or abnormally early anticipation by the Browns, who held Washington to its lowest point total of the season. Coaches determined that in only two instances were the Browns pointing before the snap, and on both plays the Redskins enjoyed solid gains.

Thus Portis’ claim was dismissed as “the kind of thing everybody says” in football, according to Gibbs.

“You run off the field and say, ‘They know what we’re running,’” Gibbs said. “In this case, there were two plays I felt like they were pointing to something. They said we were going to run the football. We did run the football and made 4 yards and 8. I didn’t see anything like [what Portis said] on film.”

Assistant head coach for offense Joe Bugel went further, calling Portis “totally wrong” and telling him to “watch the tape.”

“The only thing he said that was totally right was, ‘I have to play better,’” Bugel told WRC-TV (Ch. 4). “The things he said before that were not true.”

Portis, who rushed for a season-low 58 yards and committed a key fumble in the third quarter, griped after the game that “the defense knew every play we were doing.”

“How they knew, I have no idea,” Portis said. “But the defensive guy was out there calling out the play. It was like running into a brick wall. It was like he was telling me, ‘Let’s meet right here.’”

Cleveland players gave credence to the theory by calling Gibbs’ offense “not that complicated.”

Gibbs, however, believes the problems come down to execution, saying the plays have sufficient diversity and complexity.

“I do,” Gibbs said. “But it’s one thing to think it, another thing to make it happen.”

Gibbs still mad

Still incredulous at being told before the game that the visitors’ headsets might malfunction, and then enduring such technical difficulties for two series in the second half, Gibbs said he would report the incident to the league.

“Basically what I’ll do is fill out everything, turn it in and say, ‘Hopefully we can help the next team that plays here,’” Gibbs said.

Gibbs lost communication with quarterback Mark Brunell and “intermittently” with his staff in the upstairs box. Alternate equipment was shuffled in, with little success, before the headset suddenly started working again.

“To me, that shouldn’t be in the NFL,” Gibbs said. “You’re having trouble with communications? You need to fix it. It shouldn’t be, ‘This stadium has trouble with communications.’ This is the NFL. Don’t throw that on us.”

LaVar still out

Director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer expects linebacker LaVar Arrington to miss Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens while continuing to rehabilitate from arthroscopic knee surgery.

Arrington underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus on Sept.23 and was given an estimated recovery time of two to four weeks. Arrington speculated that he might return in as little as a week and a half, but the two-week mark will pass Thursday and he appears doubtful for Sunday.

“I don’t think he’ll be ready,” Tyer said.

Defensive end Phillip Daniels will be out at least one more week while recovering from a groin strain. Daniels hopes to return for the Oct.17 game at Chicago, where he played the past four seasons.

Among other injuries, return man Chad Morton (knee) and right tackle Ray Brown (hamstring) are optimistic they’ll be able to play against the Ravens. The status of safety Andre Lott (hamstring) also is up in the air.

Linebacker Mike Barrow will see another specialist today as the Redskins search for a solution to his long-standing knee injury. Barrow, who was diagnosed with tendinitis and then a torn tendon, has yet to appear in a game for the Redskins. Last week Gibbs acknowledged that the club was considering shutting down Barrow’s season.

“We’re doing every single thing in our power to see what that problem is, to see if we can get it fixed,” Gibbs said yesterday. “It’s one of those things that’s hard to put your finger on. The more people we have look at it, we figure maybe somebody will come up with something.”

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