Keim's Take: Arrington Story Wearing Thin

Even John Keim's wife is asking him about the Arrington controversy.

...I think you'll be hearing less and less from linebacker LaVar Arrington over his situation. He was already tired of addressing the topic last week and he doesn't want to create more of a problem.

...I also think the fans at FedEx will somehow voice their minds over the situation Sunday. Why? It's not a media driven story. Everywhere I go, it's the number one topic fans bring up. Heck, even my wife wants to discuss it. After a long day yesterday, going from Redskins Park to a TV appearance to plug my book Stadium Stories: Washington Redskins (sorry, a little shilling there), I arrived home, sat down to dinner and the first thing my wife asked, ''Why aren't they playing LaVar.'' Many people I talk to think it's personal. Maybe it is, but I doubt very much that Joe Gibbs would allow the owner to dictate who plays. But it's become evident that it's personal between Gregg Williams and LaVar. It's been described by one person in the building as a battle of egos. They're right.

...I think great coaches make it work with all sorts of players, like Marvin Lewis and Marty Schottenheimer did. And spare me the talk about how he was out of position on this third and four play. I've been critical of Arrington on such plays for years. Guess that means those who buy this notion would have thought the Redskins were better off without players such as Dexter Manley and Wilber Marshall in the 1980s.

...I think I'm tired of the topic, too.

...I still like this team. Good character players; good chemistry; good quarterback. That's why they have a chance, provided they remain healthy.

...I think Clinton Portis is a terrific back with lots of hear. I also think the problems in the red zone stem from the inability to run the ball near the goal line. The line isn't opening enough big holes and Portis doesn't move piles.

...I think Joe Gibbs needs to simmer down a bit when talking about who the media picks. He can't control the press and never will so he shouldn't worry when someone makes a comment about an upcoming game. His rant in Monday's press conference was one of the more bizarre rants I've seen at Redskins Park in my 12 years. But it shows you just how big this game is; not because the Niners are any good, but because the Redskins absolutely must win this game. And the hardest ones to prepare for are sometimes the ones you should win easily. So I don't blame Gibbs for being worried about this game and his message more or less wasn't really directed at the media, but at his players. Still, it was odd.

...I always liked Mike Nolan when he was in Washington. He's the last defensive coordinator who met with the media on a regular basis and answered every question. That doesn't make him great, but it does show how he handles tense situations -- and he had quite a few here. It makes him well-suited for the massive rebuilding job in San Francisco.

...I think the pass protection needs to improve, especially up the middle, except at right guard where Randy Thomas has played well.

...I think the Redskins' offense is very fun to watch. It's not just the big plays, it's the variety of plays and how they keep defenses guessing. Now they just need to score more.

...I think the Redskins' defense is still good. They're just not at an elite level by any means. If the offense would stop turning the ball over, they'd be 4-1 or 5-0 so let's not blame too much on the defense. But I would just like to see them create more plays, as would everybody. True, teams are using more max protection against them. Without the blitz, Washington can't get to the QB and that's a problem. And the Redskins' blitzers aren't finishing plays as they were last year. Yes, teams have adjusted to Washington. But it's also true that teams like Cincinnati and Buffalo are still creating a lot of turnovers after being near the top of the league in that category last season, too.


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