- The Washington Times - Monday, September 28, 2009

Despite a 1-2 record and fresh off becoming the Detroit Lions’ first victim in 20 games, Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn on Monday insisted his team is headed in the right direction.

“In the big picture, things are progressing. We’re getting better,” he said during his weekly news conference at Redskin Park. “It’s not coming in a win [over Detroit], but we’ll continue to press on and take care of those details.”

Zorn also said the Redskins have “tremendous talent,” and he insisted that he hasn’t lost the locker room with the poor start and questionable decision making on his part.

“I think we have excellent men in that locker room,” he said. “I think we have great captains. They handle a lot of that stuff. I think our captains are doing a wonderful job of keeping our guys together and really taking positive things from the game and trying to alleviate the negative plays. Once we start doing that, we’ll be on the right track.”

One of those captains, middle linebacker London Fletcher, held court in the locker room Monday and said it’s up to the veterans to get things back on track in time for Sunday’s game against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“You try to get guys to stay together and understand that it’s the third game of the season and we’re still early,” Fletcher said. “But we can’t allow a snowball effect to take place where one loss turns into two and three losses and everything gets out of control. We can’t allow any negativity to creep in amongst us. If you see it, you need to definitely nip it in the bud.”

Zorn also scoffed at suggestions from starting cornerbacks Carlos Rogers and DeAngelo Hall.

Rogers said the Redskins don’t have an offensive or defensive identity.

Zorn’s retort: “We lost a game and after a big loss like that, I can imagine there are a lot of things that go through guys’ minds. And that is a thought. I don’t have that thought.”

Hall said the Redskins aren’t showing the same fight they did last year.

Said Zorn: “He came in later on in the season when we were cranked up pretty good. This is the beginning of the season and we’ve lost two games. I don’t have any problem with him saying that but I don’t have a comeback for him.”

Other items from Monday’s return to Redskin Park:

* Zorn said defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth sustained a strained glute muscle in his right hip and is expected to be available for the Tampa Bay game.

* Running back Clinton Portis was not on the field late in the game after getting kicked in the calf.

* Zorn said right guard Chad Rinehart did enough in his first NFL game/start to get the nod against the Buccaneers.

Note: D.C. native Byron Leftwich will not start at quarterback for the Buccaneers. Tampa, which benched Leftwich during Sunday’s loss to the Giants, will instead go with Josh Johnson under center.

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