- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Washington Redskins’ Clinton Portis and Mike Sellers went to the 2008 Pro Bowl as a backfield tandem. But WRC-TV reported Thursday that the teammates got into a heated argument this week at Redskin Park about the latter’s blocking, one that required other players to separate them.

The Redskins declined to let Portis and Sellers talk to reporters Friday, and coach Jim Zorn said the incident was blown out of proportion. It was the cap to a crazy week in which Sherman Lewis was brought out of a 4 1/2-year retirement to be an offensive consultant and defensive coordinator Greg Blache decided he’s no longer speaking to the media - all after a 16-13 victory against Tampa Bay.

“This is just how a team goes,” Zorn said of the Portis-Sellers dispute. “There’s no fisticuffs. There’s no pushing and shoving. I don’t really know what the discussion was [about]. These guys are like brothers. They care about each other.”

Tryon makes his move

While most of the focus on the Redskins’ defense last week was at strong safety, where Reed Doughty won his job back from Chris Horton, the bigger surprise was Blache’s benching of longtime regular Fred Smoot for the untested Justin Tryon at nickel back.

“They told me on Wednesday that I’d be playing the nickel,” Tryon said. “I was stoked to get my playing going. I responded pretty good, I guess.”

The 5-foot-9, 183-pound Tryon, who has improved steadily after a dreadful rookie training camp, had four tackles - doubling his career high - as well as his first sack, hurry and tackle for loss.

Tryon had played two weeks earlier when Smoot was inactive against St. Louis because of bruised ribs. Smoot then struggled in his return against Detroit. But secondary coach Jerry Gray said the Bucs’ use of their receivers also made a difference that won’t necessarily prompt the same rotation in future games. DeAngelo Hall moved outside from the slot against Tampa Bay.

“Tampa left their starters outside, and I wanted to keep DeAngelo and Carlos [Rogers] outside with their starters,” Gray said. “Justin came in on third downs and played well. Fred is not a nickel [slot] corner. Everybody can’t play nickel. You gotta be able to blitz. You gotta be able to stop the run. You’re really a miniature linebacker. I don’t think [Fred’s] not still in the top three [corners].”

While Smoot hasn’t talked to the media since being replaced, Tryon said Smoot has continued to work with him.

“Fred’s a great guy, a great teacher,” Tryon said. “He’s like an extra coach to me, [telling me], ‘Hey, J, listen; try this.’ At times, I can get too pumped and overplay something or not look at the down and distance which can tell you everything. Sometimes I have to mellow out.”

Pakulak will punt

Punter/holder Hunter Smith, who didn’t miss a game during his decade with Indianapolis, won’t play Sunday at Carolina after pulling a groin against Tampa Bay.

Glenn Pakulak, signed Tuesday to the practice squad, will fill in. The left-footed Pakulak averaged 47.7 gross yardage and 37.8 net in eight games for New Orleans in 2008 and held as Garrett Hartley made all 13 of his field goal attempts and all 28 of his extra-point tries.

Reserve running backs Marcus Mason and Anthony Alridge, backup offensive linemen D’Anthony Batiste and Edwin Williams and linebacker Robert Henson are the chief candidates to be cut Saturday to make room for Pakulak.

Griffin questionable

Cornelius Griffin is questionable because of the left elbow injury he suffered against Tampa Bay. Fellow defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery (knee) will miss a fifth straight game. Offensive tackle Chris Samuels will start despite being limited in practice this week with knee and shin ailments. Kedric Golston will start if Griffin can’t play.

“It’s hurting me,” Griffin said. “It’s going to be a game-time decision. I’ll do my best to go out and help the team, but at the same time I don’t want to hurt us.”

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