(Pass) Rush to Judgment

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By Michael Wilbon
Monday, October 17, 2005

KANSAS CITY, Mo. We start with the subject Joe Gibbs doesn't want to talk about anymore, but the one that has to be addressed in the wake of Sunday's loss to the Chiefs: LaVar Arrington.

What the Redskins so desperately needed, particularly in the second half Sunday, was their own Jared Allen. It doesn't make a difference that you've never heard of Allen, the 6-foot-6, 265-pound second-year defensive lineman from Idaho State; he was the star. Yes, Trent Green and Priest Holmes hooked up on a critical score, but the star of the game, indisputably, was Allen.

He sacked Mark Brunell three times, forced three fumbles (but was credited with two) and recovered two.

Allen was so disruptive to the Redskins' offense, Dick Vermeil gave the kid the game ball.

And that's why we have to talk about Arrington. The Redskins needed a guy with the speed and strength to get to the quarterback and force him to cough up the ball or throw it to the wrong guy or hit the turf behind the line of scrimmage. The Redskins needed a guy, just like Jared Allen, to make Green nervous, to disrupt his timing, to bust up plays, to force the Chiefs into a bunch of Plan Bs.

This wouldn't be Topic A had the Redskins who did play been able to do this, but they couldn't. They haven't been able to do it at all this season.

The defense, as good as it has been, has forced a measly two turnovers in five games -- and none in the last four. There has only been one sack-and-strip of the opposing quarterback. Gibbs spent what seemed to be five minutes of his postgame news conference talking about the lack of turnovers forced by the defense.

He said he and his staff "do a lot of stuff to emphasize taking the ball away, forcing turnovers in practice." And Gibbs added that he is going to have to find "some creative way" to get the defense to intercept the ball and come up with fumble recoveries. The players might see more "strip drills" in practice this week. "Maybe," Gibbs said, "there's something I can do."

Well, perhaps there is indeed.

Find a few snaps for LaVar Arrington.

After the game, when asked about finding Arrington some playing time, defensive boss Gregg Williams answered by asking, "Okay, who do you want me to take out?"

His point is that Renaldo Wynn, Marcus Washington, Lemar Marshall and Warrick Holdman are playing very, very well. And there's no disputing that.

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© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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