- The Washington Times - Friday, October 9, 2009

A week ago, Greg Blache said he was willing to take the criticism that comes with being the Washington Redskins’ defensive coordinator.

“Quite candidly, in 2009, things go bad, somebody has to go under the bus,” he said. “And being the leader of this defense, I should be under the bus, and I’ll dive under.”

On Thursday, however, the Redskins announced that their defensive “leader” would not be taking questions from reporters for the rest of the season.

Blache rambled for 70 seconds on the Redskins’ victory over Tampa Bay and Sunday’s game at Carolina but did not explain his decision. He is also ending weekly segments on Comcast SportsNet and WRC-TV.

“For Greg, he’s really needed a break,” said coach Jim Zorn, who would not comment on whether the decision involved a health issue. “I would put it as personal reasons. It is a needed break for him. That’s why I’ve allowed it.”

The NFL requires coordinators to be available once a week, but the Redskins are circumventing the rule by having Blache give a statement before secondary coach Jerry Gray takes questions.

Teams who don’t make their coordinators available face fines, but the Redskins will avoid any penalty with the opening statement.

In an e-mail, the league office said: “Coach Zorn explained the situation, and we granted approval. Jerry Gray will speak to the media about the defense.”

Zorn said Blache will continue to perform all of his coordinator duties and that there was “zero” connection between Blache’s boycott and the arrival of offensive consultant Sherman Lewis.

This isn’t the first time Blache has declined interviews. For much of his tenure as defensive line coach (2004-07), he did not speak to the media.

Campbell adds wristband

The past two games, quarterback Jason Campbell wore a wristband with selected play calls in an effort to get to the line of scrimmage quicker.

“Situational stuff,” he said of the content. “Some plays are really long, and we don’t want to waste any time. If it’s a long call and [Zorn] is trying to get it called, I have to listen, get in the huddle and then call it. This is saving 10 to 12 seconds of the play clock because I don’t have to wait to hear all of it; Coach Z can just give me a number, and I get right to it.”

Said offensive assistant Chris Meidt: “What we want to do in the red zone is keep our tempo. Certain calls get wordy because of formation or personnel.”

Dime equals versatility

The Redskins’ defense used its dime package (six defensive backs) on 14 snaps against Tampa Bay, allowing for more variety in play calls.

“If we have linebackers out there, [the opponent] knows we’re not going to use them covering receivers, and if we do that as a disguise, they know we’re probably blitzing linebackers,” safety Reed Doughty said. “If you have all DBs in there, they don’t know if we’re playing man, playing zone or blitzing. It’s probably a pass play, so you might as well have people who are more comfortable with those types of plays.”

Zorn helps Sellers

Fullback Mike Sellers played last week against Tampa Bay despite a painful thigh bruise that limited him in practice thanks to pads used by Zorn 30 years ago.

“[Heck] yeah, they helped,” Sellers said. “They’re ugly as [heck], but they work.”

The gaudy orange pads feature a large piece of plastic plate and wrap around the thighs.

“I wore them because I would get hit on the side of my legs, and I took a couple of wicked leg whips,” Zorn said.

Smith still out

Punter Hunter Smith (groin) and defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery (knee) both sat out a second consecutive day of practice. Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (elbow) and left tackle Chris Samuels (knee) were limited.

If Smith can’t play, newcomer Glenn Pakulak will be elevated from the practice squad.

Zorn remains undecided on whether Smith will handle the holding duties if he can’t punt.

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