It looks as if LaVar Arrington is back in the good graces of the Washington Redskins' coaching staff. Gregg Williams, the team's assistant head coach-defense, said yesterday that he anticipates Arrington will play quite a bit Sunday when the Redskins face the New York Giants at Giants Stadium.
"We sure hope so," Williams said yesterday. "He's practicing very well. It was nice to see him contribute last week. We got some significant plays out of him. He made some mistakes, but so do all of them. It was fun to see the energy and the burst. It's something I hadn't seen earlier in the year. He'll be in as many packages as we can get him on the field."
Arrington had his most extensive action of the season in the Redskins' 52-17 victory last Sunday over San Francisco. He had about 25 defensive snaps and led his team in tackles with nine. The Redskins often went to a 3-4 alignment and, with several defensive tackles still dealing with bumps and bruises, there may be more of the same this week.
Arrington, Williams said, has had "very good preparation [on the field this week] and, more important, in meetings and the classroom. He's put together back-to-back weeks that are good. There's pep in his step."
Portis Dresses Up
Clinton Portis jumped the gun on Halloween yesterday, showing up for his regular Thursday session with reporters at Redskins Park in a full length black cape, a short black wig, oversized yellow sunglasses and a Zorro-style mask. For an added touch, he also lisped through a set of false gold teeth.
"Have you heard of the Vampire of Brooklyn?" he asked. "I'm Jerome from Southeast D.C. I'm going to the bright lights of New York City, so I've got to be prepared. I've just got to get my face right."
Portis had 101 yards and his first three rushing touchdowns of the season last week against the 49ers. As long as he keeps producing, and the Redskins keep winning, he said he'll continue to play masquerade every Thursday.
"I'm just glad we're back to our winning ways," he said. "This is for the division lead. I hope we can continue to win and I can continue to score. We know this game will be special to them. We have to be prepared for a fight."
Defensive tackle Joe Salave'a can hardly pronounce what ails him -- plantar fasciitis -- but he knows it's among the most painful injuries he has ever had. Salave'a said yesterday he still intends to play Sunday, and said fellow tackle Cornelius Griffin, a former Giant, also will be in the lineup despite a hip flexor injury.
"It takes a lot for either one of us not to be in there," Salave'a said. Of his foot problem, he added, "these are the kind of injuries that the skinny guys are supposed to get, not the fat guys. It's from the heel all the way up into the arch. All you can do is double up on the treatments. I'll just have to bear down and play with it."
The Redskins added offensive lineman Derrick Dockery to their injured list with a sprained ankle. Dockery, Griffin, defensive tackle Cedric Killings (sprained ankle) and safety Sean Taylor (sprained ankle) did not practice yesterday, but all are listed as probable for Sunday.
The Redskins have been reading comments made this week by their former teammate, Giants middle linebacker Antonio Pierce, and are expecting him to come out with fire in his eyes Sunday. Pierce has said he believes the Redskins low-balled him in free agency last year, forcing him to leave for a better offer in New York.
"It's a team game, you can't get caught up in that," said Washington running back Ladell Betts. "It's that way for anyone who comes from another team. It'll just be a little added incentive for him to play well."
Added tackle Jon Jansen: "We'll go out there and play the game the way we always do. When someone has something to say, it doesn't really matter. There will be a certain amount of excitement in the beginning, but then you just settle down and play the game."