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Williams: Practice Will Dictate When Arrington Will Play

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By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 7, 2005

Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, said it is possible that Pro Bowl linebacker LaVar Arrington could play more Sunday in Denver, but said that he must continue to show improvement in practices and games to warrant more action. Arrington has spent the first portion of practice working with the defensive linemen since training camp, but participated in a few special teams drills yesterday with reserves.

During Sunday's broadcast, FOX analyst and Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long reported that Arrington's limited role was related to his refusal to play special teams, but Arrington refuted that notion and during an interview yesterday Long said he has heard many theories for Arrington's plight but did not know for certain why he had slipped down the depth chart.

"We're pretty old-school coaches," Williams said. "You've got to do it in practice if you're going to do it in a game, and I'm not going to relent on that. If you do it in practice, you'll do it in the game and if you don't do it in practice, then you don't get a chance to play in the game. We try to give everybody the reps that they're supposed to have. I'm going to play the people that we have the best chance of winning football games [with]."

Long, who lives in Virginia, has been following the Arrington situation closely. With Arrington's health not deemed an issue by the player or the team, Long speculated that a problem integrating Arrington into the Redskins' scheme could be holding him back.

"LaVar is such a gifted player, a gifted athlete," Long said, "and many of the great plays he's made have been on physical explosion. If it's blitz, a pass rush, a coverage, a run play, when he hits, he delivers a big blow when he gets there. He's a very physical tackler. Some people are wrap-up tacklers; he's a blow-you-up tackler.

"But once again, [defensive coordinator] Greg Blache and Gregg Williams and that group, they play a very, very, very disciplined, multiple-blitz package on defense that relies on everyone being in exactly the right place on every single play, because if one player is not in a particular gap they need to be in, it has a domino effect on that defense in an adverse way."

For all of its defensive success, Washington still does not produce turnovers regularly -- Arrington has a penchant for big plays -- but Williams said he is pleased with those playing ahead of Arrington. "As he improves he'll play more," Williams said. "Right now we're playing as well as we can play with the people we are playing."

Injury Report

Cornerback Walt Harris (calf) and kicker John Hall (quad) missed practice again and are not expected to play Sunday. They remain listed as questionable but could be downgraded today. . . .

Former Redskin cornerback Champ Bailey (hamstring) remains questionable for the Broncos.


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