By Tony Kornheiser
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Exactly what are the Redskins planning for LaVar Arrington -- other than to sit him on the bench like an overripe plum and let him rot from the inside?
A reportedly healthy LaVar didn't play one down against Denver, after playing just two downs against Seattle. It seems a campaign by Redskins coaches to quarantine LaVar is in full bloom.
When asked about LaVar's inert status on the defense, Joe Bugel said, "You can't be a flash; you can't make one big play, then make four or five bad plays." Gregg Williams said that players who want to play "have to do it in practice." And according to Bill Maas, a Fox analyst who worked the Denver game, Williams pointed out LaVar "hadn't been to any of the offseason programs." Sounds like they're building a case, doesn't it?
Bugel said the most important thing about the Redskins' defense is "discipline." Maas said Williams explained his defense is "precise." The inference is LaVar is neither disciplined, nor precise, that he is -- to use a word often associated with him -- a "freelancer."
But let's hold on a second. Last time I looked, LaVar had played good enough defense on some darned good defensive teams here to be elected to the Pro Bowl three times -- which is two more times than anybody else on that defense. And just a few months ago, in June, this same Gregg Williams was quoted saying, "It's no secret that I'm a better coach when LaVar is on the field." So, wha' happened?
It's hard to believe a healthy LaVar Arrington isn't good enough to get into the game. (If I owned the Redskins, I'd want to see that with my own eyes.) But if the Redskins don't want LaVar, they should deactivate him, and not strand him out there in his clean jersey so it looks like they're deliberately trying to embarrass and punish him.