Mini Camp Report: Day 3

When he moved there two years ago linebacker LaVar Arrington balked. He didn't like lining up at end. He didn't like the way he was told. And he didn't think it helped him at all.

Two years, and two coordinators, later, Arrington views the situation much differently.

''If they want me to play defensive end or defensive tackle, I don't care,'' Arrington said. ''I just want to win before it's too late. I don't want the lights to go out on me. I don't want to look back and say, had I played defensive end and played as well as I can play it might have been different. I don't ever want to look back and feel that way. So I'll do what I need to do.''

That's why he views the 2002 season differently. Call it a maturation process. Then, he didn't understand what Marvin Lewis was doing in having him line up at left end. He even said he might call Lewis to tell him about his change in thinking.

''I do still feel some of the things back then are accurate,'' Arrington said, ''but I also can see what his vision was, too. I'm getting older now. I honestly can understand what Marvin was trying to accomplish. It's just figuring out whatever you can do to help the team, do it. I've always felt that. Marvin felt that I could help the team. I just think if it was communicated a little differently it would not have been such a big deal. But that's then and this is now.''

. . . More LaVar, this time on Fred Smoot: ''I'm surprised Fred didn't make the Pro Bowl this past season. When he sustained that injury he started to find himself and he was really building on things. He assumed a leaderhip role. He's come along very nicely. They always say that you have to have a Pro Bowl caliber year before you make it. This will be a good year for him to make it. He's working hard. He's poised to go out and have a good year.''

And this: ''A lot of people don't know that Fred was throwing up and in tears in the locker room from pain after [the game at Dallas in which Smoot played hurt]. He was throwing up because he was in so much pain. I liked Fred before, but when I saw that I became a Smoot fan. No doubt. Just no doubt.''

. . . Practice was closed for the final 1 hour, 15 minutes as the coaches appear to be overwhelmed by the amount of media attention for May workouts. Can't say I blame them: there were at least 40 media outlets represented at various times. Unfortunately, this means we didn't get as many tidbits from practices.

. . . But we saw enough to catch one defensive drill that I liked. Five players would do up downs at the goal-line, facing the goal posts. Four cones would be set up on either sideline, at least five yards apart. After several up downs, a coach would point to one side or the other. And the five players would take off after the cones. The one player who didn't get a cone would go to midfield, facing another coach and doing more up downs.

Here's what I liked most: the players sprinted hard after the cones and seemed to enjoy the competitive aspect.

. . . So we're left talking about this: Don Breaux lining up at defensive line, Gibbs at linebacker and Earnest Byner along the line. All to give the offense a skeleton look. I must say, Breaux has lost a step. Lacks a quick burst.

. . . I like that special teams were always first in workouts. Sends a great message. And I like special teams coach Danny Smith. He has more energy than any special teams coach I can remember. When the coach is that fiery it rubs off on the players. They have no choice but to take it seriously.

. . . Clinton Portis took part in the offensive line drill in which Joe Bugel rolled softballs to them on the ground as they shuffled back and forth. This, of course, led to some razzing of Portis. After doing about 8 Portis walked away, leading to more catcalls, ''You can't just stop when you want to!'' Jon Jansen yelled to him.

. . . Laveranues Coles' toe is still bothering him a little bit, but he won't be undergoing any surgery.

. . . Coles also earns the award for the player who complained most about officiating. The first two days Coles constantly, um, chatted with the poor referees standing near him. Of course, he only chatted with them when calls went against the offense. After one offsides call on a receiver, Coles asked the ref, ''Do they pay you all?''

But the best stuff occured Friday. After one corner was flagged for interference, Coles barked, ''They've been doing that all day! Good call, baby.'' A few minutes later, after Rod Gardner was flagged for pushing off Coles said, ''Come on, ref. You've got to explain that one to me.''

. . . The Redskins next minicamp is June 4-6. Until then, the players will spend three days a week working with their individual coaches for about 90 minutes, in addition to working out. The rookies can't return until May 16.

. . . Gibbs' biggest concern: ''The injured guys. It's hard to make it real smooth out there when you've got people missing in action. We got a few back for this minicamp.'' Overall: ''The defense looked good. The offense was real rough, but I was pleased with the guys' attitudes. They have a good work ethic and I think our guys are willing workers, which is very important.''

. . .One new scout who signed here last week is Joel Patten, who was with the Redskins until Charley Casserly left. He then joined Casserly in Houston, but Patten has a house about 20 minutes from Ashburn. He's a good one.


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