Star Linebacker Needed

As if losing a game on a controversial call wasn't enough to ruin the Redskins' Monday, they learned that their star linebacker is out for another four weeks and their returner and another starting safety are lost for the year.

Linebacker LaVar Arrington will miss another four weeks because of a bone bruise on his surgically-repaired right knee. The Redskins will be extra cautious with Arrington and haven't scheduled another MRI for him for at least another 10 days. They'll keep him inside, having him do bike work and swim exercises. There's still atrophy around the knee.

Meanwhile, returner Chad Morton tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will eventually require season-ending surgery. Also, safety Andre Lott tore his pectoral muscle and will undergo season-ending surgery Wednesday.

Also, kicker John Hall is already doubtful for Sunday's game at Detroit because of his strained groin. Left tackle Chris Samuels was using a boot to protect his right ankle. But that's more for precautionary measures and he should be fine for Sunday.

. . . FYI: The illegal motion penalties have become a point of emphasis this season. The NFL has called 42 such penalties already this year, compared to six at this point last year. It appears what the league is saying is that James Thrash was moving forward on the play. Most likely what the official saw is Thrash go in motion and swing into a set position as the ball was snapped. According to the rule, Thrash had to either be parallel or set. The Redskins insist he was and have sent the NFL tapes of three other times they ran the same play in the game.

We erred in thinking that they called the penalty because he wasn't set long enough ; an illegal shift can be called if a player in motion isn't set for at least one second. That's not what the officials ruled. According to the rules, all offensive players must be stationary at the snap, except for one back who may be in motion parallel to the line of scrimmage or backward, but not forward. Thrash moved forward.

They're also very ticked about the next play, the non-holding call on corner Al Harris, who then intercepted a pass. That play also will be sent to the league. And that, too, was supposed to be a point of emphasis. Clearly, the officials blew that call.


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