CHANGES IN DEFENSE, SCHEDULE

One change is minor, but much appreciated by the veterans. The other change is minor, too, and the Redskins hope its well received once Sunday's game against New York begins.

One result of Monday's meeting between the players and the coaches is that the veterans no longer have to arrive early in the morning to lift weights. Rather, they can do it following practice, giving them extra time to sleep in.

But the other change is designed to do something else: improve the defense.

''We've reduced a little bit of what we'll do on the field and that will allow players to go make plays,'' said linebacker Robert Jones, expected to start at strongside linebacker this week in place of LaVar Arrington, who is questionable with a knee injury. ''Sometimes guys have difficulty grasping a new system.

''It's not even major changes. It's almost like you got a ton of stuff and what you want to do is instead of giving them a bunch of stuff, let's shrink it a little bit. Keep it simple and let them focus on that and then see how that plays.''

Schottenheimer said they tinkered a little with the defense, but no dramatic changes were made. But he knows one thing must change: the run defense. Washington ranks 30th against the run.

''In this league if you don't stop the run, you're doomed,'' he said. ''A lot of [the problems] have to do with players not doing things naturally. They're still in the process of thinking and making decisions.''

. . . Schottenheimer said Kenard Lang likely will start again at left end in place of Marco Coleman, who is questionable with an elbow injury. Jerry DeLoach likely would start at tackle.

However, Lang will play some tackle with Tyrone Williams backing him up at end.


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