- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 1, 2005

Greg Blache doesn’t worry about injuries, and for the first six weeks of the season, the Washington Redskins’ defensive coordinator/line coach had no reason to fret.

But the last five games have required Blache to make adjustments.

Although ends Renaldo Wynn and Phillip Daniels remain healthy, the tackles haven’t been as lucky. Cornelius Griffin (hip) missed all but two snaps during a four-game stretch before returning last week and Joe Salave’a (foot) played with his injury until he tore the plantar fascia against the Chargers. He is unlikely to play Sunday at St. Louis.

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The injuries have given Cedric Killings — who missed four games with an ankle injury — Ryan Boschetti and Aki Jones a chance to play. End Demetric Evans has started three games at tackle.

“If I worried about injuries, I’d be a basket case,” Blache said. “When I was a young coach, I did worry about it. But as a coach becomes more experienced, you realize there are things you can and can’t control. You can control how well you coach the guys who are [healthy] and you can control the attitude of your players by believing in them.”

Blache said it’s important for him to not have a woe-is-me demeanor when a player the caliber of Griffin or Salave’a is injured.

“One of the worst things you can do as a coach is say, ‘Oh no, so-and-so is injured, now we’re in trouble,’” Blache said. “What does that say about his replacement? I believe in all my guys and I expect them to believe in themselves.”

Griffin’s snaps were limited against San Diego, but he’s expected to play more Sunday at St. Louis. Griffin, Killings and Boschetti will be a part of the rotation and Blache said Jones, who has been inactive the last two weeks, also may earn some playing time.

A new look

Following a one-week break from playing dress-up, running back Clinton Portis donned a black and white wig, glasses, fake teeth and a necktie yesterday and called himself “Rev. Gonna Change.”

Portis, who has dressed up for his weekly interview session this season, said he considered that a costume during a three-game losing streak might not be appropriate.

“I felt this wasn’t the time in the season to do it, but one person said we needed something positive and to keep morale up,” he said. “This week is now or never. We don’t win and our season goes tumbling down.”

Portis is 60 yards away from his fourth consecutive 1,000-yard season.

Second-half woes

Partly because of the offense’s poor second-half performance, the Redskins defense also struggled against Oakland and San Diego in the second half.

The combined first-half numbers: 64 plays for 222 yards (3.5 yards a snap) and 10 points. The second-half numbers: 78 plays for 511 yards (6.5 yards a snap) and 29 points.

“The big thing is getting the offense back out there,” assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said. “Last week, we did not tackle well at the end of the game. I said from the first day I got here, ‘when you don’t tackle, good things aren’t going to happen.’ We played an awful lot of snaps and we did not tackle on a couple crucial plays that ended up being the difference.”

Injury report

Receiver James Thrash (hamstring) officially was ruled out for the St. Louis game, and Salave’a (foot) remains unlikely to play. The team said running back Ladell Betts (knee) practiced for the first time since his injury during the Tampa Bay game. Griffin, H-back Mike Sellers (back/ribs), safety Sean Taylor (ankle) and left tackle Chris Samuels (knee) all practiced after missing Wednesday.

Dallas game changed

The kickoff for the Redskins’ Dec. 18 home game against Dallas has been changed to 4:15 p.m.

Redskins make donation

The Redskins Charitable Foundation and owner Dan Snyder donated $15,000 yesterday to help pay for the Hyattsville Hawks Pop Warner football team’s trip to Orlando, Fla., for the national playoffs.

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