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'Skins need to find spot for LaVar
GRANT PAULSEN: Arrington needs to play

Date published: 10/16/2005

AS STELLAR as the Washing- ton Redskins have been, it's foolish to think that they don't need LaVar Arrington on the field. The defense has been terrific at keeping offenses out of the end zone, but the unit hasn't been able to force turnovers or get to the quarterback. Arrington made his name by creating turnovers and putting pressure on the passer, specializing in both of the defensive deficiencies hindering Washington. The bottom line is that the Redskins are bleeding, and he could very well be the team's Band-Aid. If he is in fact the team's Band-Aid, they've opted to let the blood drip. Leaving him in the first-aid kit.

Though he is a proven playmaker known for his disruptiveness, Arrington's career took its first terrible turn in Week 2 of the 2004 campaign. During just his second game under his fourth coaching staff with the Redskins, the sixth-year Penn State product suffered a severe knee injury. His season wasn't yet two games old, but when the injury occurred Arrington had already tallied 13 tackles, a sack and two batted passes. The Redskins went on without their vocal leader, posting the league's third-best defensive unit without their top player.

Arrington worked all offseason to rehabilitate his leg, meeting every requirement set by his coaches. Five weeks into the 2005 season, Arrington's knee is a non-issue and the All-Pro talent is ready to focus on ball-carriers, rather than the agility tests that kept him occupied over the offseason. Unfortunately for Arrington, though, the coaches who compose the lineup each weekend aren't nearly as eager to see the three-time Pro-Bowler make his return to glory. Gregg Williams, Gibbs' assistant head coach and the mastermind behind Washington's upper-echelon defense, views Arrington more as a liability than as a weapon.


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