By Leonard Shapiro
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Saying, "I've put myself in the doghouse somehow," Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington has no idea why he's not playing and vehemently disagreed with defensive chief Gregg Williams's assertion last week that players who want to be on the field Sunday "have to do it in practice."
During his weekly appearance on "The John Thompson Show" on WTEM radio, Arrington said yesterday: "Like Coach Williams says, I've got to show them in practice. Well in practice, give me some reps [repetitions] so you can see what I can do. If you're not going to play me, then don't play me. Just don't make things up about why I'm not playing. I'm healthy. I'm of sound mind and body. Don't try to slander me. It's being insinuated that I'm not smart enough to play this defense. That's absurd.
"If you have a guy that you say he needs to prove he knows the schemes, if he doesn't do much of anything, how do you get the opportunity to see if he's improved. That's where I'm at."
Arrington, a three-time Pro Bowl player, was on the Redskins' active roster but did not play in the team's 21-19 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The week before against Seattle, he was in on two plays.
Coach Joe Gibbs said on Monday he hopes Arrington will play more. He said he didn't play against Denver because he did not figure into the game plan against a team that runs deceptive cutback plays and often throws from outside the pocket.
"If I was making an educated guess, if you go six plays to four plays to two plays to no plays, I would say it's going the opposite way," Arrington said, when Thompson asked him if there was a chance he would play more this season. "As far down as I can go is being inactive. I haven't been put on the inactive list yet. I don't know if it's something they're planning. . . . I'm watching the game [Sunday] and I know in my heart I can make a difference.
"When you see close games being won and close games being lost, it's difficult. I was someone this organization leaned on to get through these type of games. It's still 12 weeks to go [in the regular season]. It doesn't seem like this is going to change any. I don't know how to take it, or how to react to it. . . . I'm not someone content on collecting a check. It's what I've been reduced to."
Arrington also indicated he would have no problem playing on special teams if he was asked to do so.
"I approached [special teams coach] Danny Smith," he said. "If he wants me to do something, let's have it. I'm with it. I just want to help. . . . I'm not playing because I can't play. I don't know why I'm not playing. . . . If they put me out there to hit somebody, that's what I'll do.
"I'm to the point now that it's overshadowing what we're doing. I hate that this is where we're at. I'd rather know why I'm in the position I'm in. . . . I can handle you telling me. It's not telling me."Injury Updates
The Redskins got good news on two fronts, learning that starting cornerback Shawn Springs had no structural damage to his bruised shin and that place kicker John Hall's injury is exactly what they thought it was, a strained quadriceps in his kicking leg.
Springs bruised his shin in practice last Thursday and aggravated the injury in the first quarter of the loss Sunday to the Broncos. After having difficulty pushing off, he missed the final three quarters and was replaced by Ade Jimoh.
The Redskins got back the results of Springs's Monday MRI exam, and Bubba Tyer, the team's director of sports medicine, said it confirmed there was no bone break. Springs will be treated for swelling in his lower calf and Tyer indicated his status likely will be listed as day-to-day.
Hall, who hasn't kicked since the season opener against the Bears, sought a second opinion on his quad injury from Stephen Haas, a Washington orthopedist who is team physician for the Washington Wizards.
"It's the same thing we've been saying," Tyer said. "It's a strained quad. It's getting better. He'll increase his kicking this week. We just need to be cautious in how he practices. Over-kicking would be non-productive. We'll just see how it goes."
Rookie Nick Novak, who scored the game-winning extra point against Dallas and the game-winning field goal against Seattle, almost certainly will handle the kicking chores again this week at Kansas City. Novak also nailed a 53-yard field goal at the end of the first half in Denver, but it was negated by a Washington penalty. The Redskins did not attempt a 58-yard kick; Gibbs indicated he thought that was out of Novak's range, especially on a raw, rainy afternoon.
The Redskins also expect to have starting cornerback Walt Harris back in practice today when they begin full-scale preparations for the Chiefs. He has been out the last two games with a calf injury and could return to the lineup Sunday. Tyer said running back Clinton Portis suffered a mildly bruised calf against the Broncos, but should be able to play.