Q: What would you do with LaVar Arrington? Is it time for him to go and maybe pursue someone like a John Abraham? Or is Arrington still a fit in Washington?
A: Number one, this is a great defense. But LaVar is still a premier player
in this league, when healthy. The question you have to ask is, has he hit a
point where he'll constantly be out of games or was this a one-time incident
and something he's cured from. But he's one of the premier all-around
linebackers when healthy. He can run, defend the pass, rush the passer and
he plays hard. I don't think swapping him out for a John Abraham would do
anything great for them, if LaVar can come back.
Q: Could the $6.5 million become an issue?
A: That's a legitimate question. If there's tension there that can't be
resolved then it can become an adversarial relationship and be divisive. You
have to rectify that. But on top of recovering from the knee, the Redskins
already have a lot invested in him. And Abraham didn't even try to play. Do
you want to have that? I'd rather have a guy who at least gives everything
he's got. . . Abraham is an awesome player with a great motor and when
playing he's an All-Pro. But so is LaVar.
Q: What are they missing?
A: Defensively they were awesome. Gregg Williams did a great job with his
blitzes and pressuring the quarterback, even though they didn't have a
legitimate defensive lineman that constantly brings pressure. The defense
can continue to out scheme teams and they'll get pressure from well-designed
blitzes. If LaVar comes back healthy that only adds to the mix because he
can rush from end or in the nickel.
Q: What about offensively?
A: The big thing that will help them is getting Jon Jansen back healthy. The
offensive line was a pretty average group. The receiving corps is good. But
they need a nice playmaking tight end, a guy like Gates or Eric Johnson who
can make a huge impact. Chris Cooley played well and they need to continue
to develop him. But they need to create a dominant offensive line. Chris Samuels is a good player, Jansen will help. And inside they need to upgrade
so they can be dominant in the running game.
Q: What about Ramsey?
A: He has what it takes to be an outstanding quarterback and needs time and
protection and confidence. I don't think they put him in early enough this
year. Still, they need to create an interior three to help him. He's never
had that confidence to just sit back in the pocket. Obviously, those things
are tied together. Ray Brown is awesome, but he's not part of your Number
One plan. If they can get a group going up front to dominate, that will make
Clinton more of a threat. He's a guy who can average five yards a pop with
the right group.
Q&A With: Mark Schlereth
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