Tuesday Nickel

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Today in the Tuesday Nickel: Clinton Portis, DeAngelo Hall, Vinny Cerrato, Dallas week and the Bye Week.

1. Clinton Portis.

Initially, it didn't seem too bad for Portis. But when Jim Zorn said he's questionable – on a Monday – and then Portis says today that he has a grade II sprain … now it does seem bad. I wouldn't be surprised if Portis misses this game and the Seattle game. Players typically miss 3-4 weeks with this injury. We'll give him the bye as one week, but that still leaves at least two more.

2. DeAngelo Hall.

Gotta give him credit for how he answered questions about his maturity and if he had an unfair rap. He never got angry; he didn't disagree with the perception of him and he said he was still young and had made mistakes. All I know is that I've heard different reports from his college days vs. his time in the NFL. This is a good risk-reward move by Washington. If he doesn't fit in, he's gone without a contract. But this isn't like the Brandon Lloyd situation where they handed a dope a big money deal without checking him out. That was one big problem under Joe Gibbs; he wanted everyone to have security and a comfort level, but he won in the past because nobody felt secure.

3. Vinny Cerrato.

The Redskins executive VP has all but abandoned any plans for getting along with the press. Or, heck, even having a professional relationship. He declines interview requests and fails to even talk after a move such as Hall or when they make six roster moves in one day, as happened last month. Many were willing to give Cerrato a pass for the past, but he's damaged himself by how little he's served as the franchise spokesman – as he should be following major moves. He's left that job to Jim Zorn, who doesn't make these moves. That said, Zorn understands that he needs to step in in these situations; he knows that Cerrato does not want to do it. Cerrato would be better off talking to the press a little bit and not doing his radio show, where he does not come across well. Good thing others in the building did not get their wish to have him on daily. Cerrato, from what we hear, does not even like being on twice a week.

4. Dallas week.

The importance of this game can't be understated. Whichever team wins this game will generate some momentum for a difficult final seven games. The Redskins have the easiest remaining schedule in the division, thanks to road games at Seattle, Cincinnati and San Francisco. But I've got a feeling the Redskins will limp to the finish line thanks to all these nagging injuries. And there's no guarantee that 10 wins gets them into the playoffs. But Dallas finishes with games against Pittsburgh, Baltimore, the Giants and Philly. The Cowboys have to win this game.

5. Bye week.

The players seemed genuinely relaxed and refreshed after being away from the facility for almost a week. But I wonder if some players got too comfy being away. One joked about hoping his plane would have been stranded for an extra day or so. Still, there was a little more energy in the building Monday and, in essence, that was an extra day of practice. So they could come in Monday, shake off the cobwebs and then get ready for the real workouts starting Wednesday. It'll be interesting to see how both teams respond Sunday. After all, Dallas took a different approach by practicing twice during the bye. And some criticized the Cowboys for not practicing more.

John Keim covers the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and is a contributing editor for Warpathinsiders.com. He has covered the team since 1994. Some of his other stories can be found at dcexaminer.com

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