Practice Report: LaVar Speaks

Practice Report 08.24.05--LaVar Arrington spoke to the press and we were there for than and some other interesting happenings at Wednesday's practice.

. . . Linebacker LaVar Arrington knows people wonder about him. In some ways, he wonders too.

‘'People think I might be washed up,'' Arrington said. ‘'Maybe they'll see something like that, maybe they won't. We'll see. Do I feel washed up? No. . . [But] I have a little bit of anxiety. It's all new again. I've got to do it all over again and at the highest level. It's going to be interesting.''

Arrington gave his first extensive interview since April after practice today. Previously, he'd given short answers -- a contrast from the thoughtful and long answers he'd given since his arrival in 2000. There's a myriad of reasons why he's toned it down.

But his mind now is focused on playing football, starting with Friday's game against Pittsburgh. He might get as many as 30 snaps in the game and could be a big part of the package in the opening game against Chicago.

‘'He's an explosive athlete who has a chance to make big plays,'' Redskins assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said. ‘'From a defensive coach's standpoint, you like to see players play with an attitude and play with things you can't coach, which is flat-out speed.'' But it's a new Arrington who will take the field. ‘'It's hard being a leader for so long and being the focal point and then it abruptly stops,'' Arrington said. ‘'It's also nice not to have The Player pressure on me. It's on other guys this year. It'll give me an opportunity to just play and let other people have that type of attention.'' However, he knows he'll still get the attention. At camp, no one was more popular with the fans, who screamed for him to come by. He remained playful with the fans, but he also toned down his playfullness in the press, wanting to show it on the field. Some of it is because last year proved to be a humbling and difficult one for him. He'd never been sidelined with an injury before and dealing with that for an athlete can be extremely difficult. ‘'Generally, I try and forecast how I'm feeling and what will happen,'' Arrington said. ‘'But this one I'll let the story unfold. It'll be interesting to see how things play out. Stay tuned. . . I feel really good.''

. . . Arrington also said prayer requests by his father at two recent church services have had a calming effect on him. ''I believe in miracles and believe at that point I really did feel a change,'' he said. ''Whether it's more mental or divine intervention, I don't know. But I feel good.''

. . . Receiver Darnerien McCants knows his best way to make the Redskins is to show he can play special teams. But he didn't play them in the past game and he hasn't been told he'll play them Friday, which makes you wonder exactly where he stands. McCants said he's never had a problem playing special teams.

. . . Receiver Taylor Jacobs (toe) is running a little better, doing sprints at more than half-speed -- but not quite full. Still no word on when he'll return. But the first step in his recovery was running and now he can work on the next step: planting and cutting. The Redskins likely will be extra-cautious with him, knowing how sensitive toe injuries can be.

. . . Receiver Santana Moss and Laveranues Coles still chat every so often, having last spoken on the phone a couple weeks ago. Not sure why that matters, but now you know.

. . . Punter Tom Tupa (back) still is uncertain about playing Friday. Kicker John Hall missed practice with a fever; they sent him home so he wouldn't spread the virus to a teammate. Of course, he has an infant at home so let's hope he doesn't get it, either.

. . . Corner Walt Harris (calf) and safety Ryan Clark (knee) both did not practice. Can't imagine either one playing this weekend.

. . . Jeff Chandler doesn't appear to be any threat to Hall's job. Hasn't been overly impressive in practice and got off one of the worst onside kicks you'll ever see today. Just kind of floated in the air.

. . .One guy I misjudged before he got here: running back Clinton Portis. Though he sometimes pops off -- or, rather, tells the truth -- the guy runs hard and likes to play and wants to win. He was dedicated in the offseason and the results should show this season. I also like that he knows he must get a few more carries in the preseason. He doesn't want to shy away from work.

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