Patriots defensive player to watch: CB Kyle Arrington

December 9, 2011

How he beats you: The third-year cornerback has come into his own this season, recording an NFL-best seven interceptions and also leads the Patriots with 65 tackles and 12 pass deflections. The 5-foot-10, 196-pound graduate of Gwynn Park High School does well both in man and zone coverage and has sharp instincts. Said Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan: “He’s got good hands. DBs touch a lot of balls throughout the year. When he’s touched balls, he’s picked them. Their defense, they mix it up. They play some man coverage and they play some soft zone. He’s done a good job at both. When the ball’s a little behind a guy or when the quarterback overthrows someone in the zone in coverage, he’s got good vision [and] he’s done a good job making plays on that ball. When he has, he’s caught them.”

How to stop him: Arrington has good quickness, but not overwhelming speed. He has gotten burned at times because he isn’t always able to recover after falling for double-moves, and in turn gives up some big plays. The Redskins could try to get Arrington into some one-on-one situations where he’s out on an island, without safety help over the top. Precise route-running and smart decision-making by Rex Grossman also will help prevent Arrington from having an impact.

Bottom line: Getting the running game will be key for Washington’s passing game, because Grossman & Co. operate at their best when they can use the play-action game to set up big plays. Obviously, moving the ball – both through the air and on the ground – will be more of a challenge without Fred Davis and Trent Williams. “It affects everything and those two are very key in the run game [and] also very key in the pass game,” Shanahan says. “It affects all positions. It affects the whole offense. It affects the team. We need guys to step up. You can’t just do the same stuff and you expect not to get worse when you lose two of your best players. That’s why we have to get guys in there to step up and replace those guys. And not just the guys replacing them and, at other positions, you’ve got to raise it to a different level so we can find a way to replace those yards in the pass game and give those holes in the run game.”

More on the Redskins:

Tailgate Zone: Trade for Peyton Manning?

Patriots offensive player to watch: Tom Brady

Shanahan faces friend/rival Belichick

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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