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Arrington Blowing off Steam

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Arrington Blowing off Steam

Arrington didn't seem to be too angry about being
forced to play against San Francisco in December

There's a certain danger in examining the words of a 26 year old man who wears his emotions on his sleeve. It's especially dangerous when that player has just had knee surgery for the second time in seven months. But as the whole thing has created quite an uproar so let's parse some of his statements as quoted in the Washington Post:
Why is it that nobody is really speaking about how hard and the sacrifices I put forth to try to get back out there? They're so quick to talk about what we do wrong.The first part is just silly. Is Joe Gibbs supposed to call a press conference to praise Arrington to do what he gets paid millions to do, spend the offseason getting prepared to play in the fall? And the second part is just wrong, at least in public. This coaching staff does not criticize the players to the press.
To me it kind of [stinks]; it [stinks], because it's not like I have a relationship built with [the coaches] anyway, because they're new and then I get hurt and every year it's always someone new [as a head coach]. This sounds almost hysterical. First of all, maybe there would not have been so many new coaches had Arrington done what previous coaches had asked him to do. Arrington wouldn't play within the defensive scheme as Kurt Schottenheimer wanted him to do and he gave a lot of resistance to playing from a three-point stance as Marvin Lewis wanted him to do. Actions such as that help keep the coaching revolving door turning.

On top of that, wasn't Arrington one of the players who didn't return phone calls to Gibbs when the coach was rehired back in January of '04? Certainly, his enthusiasm for the return of the legendary coach was very limited. Last time I checked it takes two to build a relationship.
Does that mean it's right the way it's being handled? . . . It makes you wonder, man, what's their agenda?Their agenda is to win football games, not to coddle players and massage their egos.

When asked if he'd discussed his feelings about the situation with Gibbs, Arrington said:
I don't really care, to be honest. I just care about getting healthy and trying to be able to play. I don't really care what anybody thinks at this pointIn other words, no, I'm blasting away with both barrels publicly without talking to the coach first.
I'm taking as much time as I need, and if that means they're upset and want to get rid of me, then so be it. But I'm not coming back before my knee is better. I tried it their way, and it got me on crutches again. Now I'm going to try it the way that Dr. Andrews and the rest of the medical staff want me to do, and that's the bottom line.
Now this is a pretty serious charge here. Arrington is saying that the Redskins forced him to do things against the advice of his doctor and that they would get rid of him if he didn't go along. It would naive to think that such things don't happen, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Here are Arrington's own words from Redskins.com on December 8:
I felt pretty good out there," he said. "I still have to get a little more comfortable out there. I fee relatively new right now, as funny as that may sound. . .Guys are still fighting and continuing to get things done--I want to be a part of it. I don't want sit back and watch when I'm healthy. So if I'm healthy and I'm not on Injured Reserve, I'd like an opportunity to go out there and play. That's the way I feel.So, that's the way he felt then. Yesterday, it was this:
I worked my [butt] off to get back on the field and for what? Three [late-season] games? There wasn't no playoffs on the line. There wasn't no Super Bowls, and I still worked my [butt] off to play in those three games.
If Arrington is waiting for a brass band to lead the ticker tape parade to celebrate him busting his [butt] so that he can perform the job he gets paid millions of dollars to do, he will be sorely disappointed.

For his part, Gibbs said the following:
Being the guy he is and the competitor he is, he wanted to play, But I told him, long-term, what's important to us is you, your health. Not just you as a player, but as a person.Certainly, Gibbs is putting the best face on this from the team's point of view. If the NFL was truly concerned about the long-term health of its players it probably would have to shut down entirely as virtually nobody who plays for any length of time escapes without some degree of long-term damage to his body. Still, at least as far as last December is concerned, it does appear that Arrington was feeling well and quite eager to take the field.

Lost in the he said, he said exchange between Gibbs and Arrington is the important aspect of the story, the fact that Arrington had the surgery. Unanswered here is a key question: was the procedure necessary because he played in December or because he pushed himself too hard trying to rehab in time for minicamp or was it because there was some stuff in there that wasn't found in the initial operation? This is the information that really matters, but we don't get that.

There is danger in making too much out of this. In the halls of Redskins Park, a couple of reporters happen upon Arrington, who is on crutches and feeling very down. In answer to a question like "How's it going, LaVar?", the reporters get a notebook full.

This doesn't mean, however, that all is well at Redskins Park. There certainly is some hangover from the only constant being change in coaches, staff, and players. The long-term effects of that chaos might take a lot longer to work their way out than many of us thought.

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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