Q& A WITH: LAVAR ARRINGTON

I think Coach Spurrier is pretty much cooler than the vast majority of head coaches. Too many head coaches are not touchable. They're not tangible figures. And I think Coach Spurrier is just one of those guys you can sit down and have a regular conversation with. He's a cool guy and it makes it easier to play for a coach like that.

Q: LaVar, can you talk a little bit about how excited the team is to be playing a division rival on Monday night.

 

ARRINGTON: I think we're very excited for the upcoming challenge. So we're

working hard, preparing hard for a good showing on Monday night.

 

Q. Talk about the importance of your visit to the Pentagon last week?

ARRINGTON: It was a very humbling experience. And just to be in one of the

cities where something so tragic happened was important. But to see out of the window and to be in the room where the airplane hit the Pentagon was pretty intense. It helps you to put things in the proper perspective. So it was a great, great visit. I think a lot of people really appreciated the Redskins taking the time to come down there and donate money for the families of the victims. So it was something that was good for us away from football.

 

Q. How is the overall atmosphere of the team this year as opposed to your previous two years?

 

ARRINGTON: I think the total atmosphere around here is a little bit more laid

back with a little bit more added confidence than previous years. We weren't too far off in my rookie season. We were pretty confident. Last year it was a grind by this time last year. We were still trying to find our way. I think that this team this

year has a lot of guys that have done things in the league. We have a little bit more accomplished people, other than of course our head coach, but I

think he's accepted the challenge very well. And I think that it's really going through our team. It's very contagious. So I think the team is upbeat. We love each other as teammates and we're off to a good start.

 

Q. Can you compare and contrast the differences between playing for a coach like Steve Spurrier and then playing for a coach like Joe Paterno?

 

ARRINGTON: It's probably the same because I didn't get coached by either one of

them. Joe pretty much stayed with the offense and we were pretty much under the care and watchful eye of Jerry Sandusky. And I think the same thing holds true now. Coach Spurrier stays with the offense and we're under the watchful eye of Marvin Lewis.

 

Q. What about in terms of personalities?

 

ARRINGTON: I don't know. I think Coach Spurrier is pretty much cooler than the

vast majority of head coaches. Too many head coaches are not touchable. They're not tangible figures. And I think Coach Spurrier is just one of those guys you can sit down and have a regular conversation with. He's a cool guy and it makes it easier to play for a coach like that.

 

Q. Has playing for Marvin Lewis made you a better player?

 

ARRINGTON: Well it's getting there. I'm still learning his system. But he

demands his defensive units continuously get better and improve on every snap. He doesn't let up. I think once guys start to pick up on how a coach coaches, it's one of those things where you don't really have a choice but to get better. So yes, I'm improving under him. And I'm sure as the season goes on I'll start to improve a whole lot more.

 

Q. What is it about that position that made you want to be a linebacker?

 

 ARRINGTON: Being from Pittsburgh, it's a blue collar city. And we're really

big on defense. Obviously. The Pittsburgh Steelers had the Steel Curtain and through the years have prided themselves on having great defenses. It's just something that I think the city embraced - everybody wanted to play defense. So even though we have a great tradition of quarterbacks, I think a lot of people really enjoy playing defense. And for me, I just had a natural love. Maybe it was because my father loved watching linebackers play. But I really had a love for the linebacking position.

 

Q. How do you feel about the state of your game at this point as opposed to maybe the year before or the year before that?

 

ARRINGTON: It's getting there. I'm continuously trying to improve. I set high

expectations for myself and I just hope that I can continue to get to a point where I can reach them. At the college level I was so comfortable, I was able to do a lot of things that people noticed. And I am really striving and working hard to get to that point in the NFL.

 

Q. Can you talk about what your specific role in this Marvin Lewis defense is going to be this year?

 

ARRINGTON: I'm not sure what the specific roles are. I think it's just really for us to

try to be as dominating a defensive unit as we possibly can be. I think roles change from week to week depending upon the offensive personnel, and what they're trying to do scheme-wise. It changes

 

Q. How do you prepare for Donovan McNabb in a week like this in comparison to say maybe preparing for Kurt Warner with the Rams?

 

ARRINGTON: It's to our advantage. We had an opportunity to play against

Jake Plummer this past week who obviously is as good a scrambling quarterback as there is in the NFL. So we had a good two weeks of practice preparing for a running quarterback. How you prepare, you just hope you can go out there and contain him. When you have a quarterback that can run, there's no exact science to defensing that.

You have to try to make sure you cover all the rush lanes. But if we get a chance to hit him, we have to take him down. If he breaks a tackle, he makes a whole lot of things happen. We have to be disciplined and make sure that we're not over excited and over anxious to make a play on him that we miss him.

 

Q. You used a word laid back or the word laid back to describe the environment this year in DC, which was surprising to people considering the expectations and the exposure of your football team...

 

LAVAR ARRINGTON: Well, believe me, if it's one team that has had a lot of hype surround them and then had something go wrong during the course of the year, it's been the Redskins. So I think that's one class we have passed. I think that a lot of guys that have been around here the last few years don't want to fall victim to that over and over and over again. So I think that we keep a calm, level demeanor and composure about

ourselves because we know it's a long season and anything can happen. We have to continue to keep working hard so we can try to achieve what we set out to do earlier on.

 

Q. Do you feel you clearly have the best group of linebackers in the league and can you talk about the other two guys a little bit?

 

 ARRINGTON: You know, I have such respect for our position and there's a lot of

great linebacking corps out there. I think that this linebacking corp here has the potential to definitely be, if not the best in the league, one of. I think it's

because the leadership that all three of us possess. I think with Jesse, he's obviously been around the game longer than me and Jeremiah and he brings that distinguished leadership to the table. And with Jeremiah being the middle linebacker, he has that middle linebacker mentality. He comes with the leadership of a middle linebacker. That's like a general of a defense. And with me, I just come with a little bit of everything.

I'm not as old as Jesse and I'm not a middle linebacker like Jeremiah, but I just bring a little bit of everything to the table. I try and pick everybody up. I just try to be the X factor with what Jeremiah and Jesse do. I think that we all have comparable

athletic ability. So it gives us an opportunity and gives us a chance to do things that a lot of people wouldn't be able to do.

 

Q. Is it your goal to be the defensive player of the year?

 

ARRINGTON: Yes. I put it out there. Whether I accomplish it or not, I don't know.

I'm not saying it because I want to pressure myself because I'm trying so hard to be a defensive player of the year every play. But it's a goal, it's a personal goal. I just feel like if I'm aiming for being the MVP of the league, if I come short of that, I couldn't have dropped off somewhere too far from it. So this is a little incentive for me.

 

Q. Curious if you still get to watch many Penn State games and what your thoughts have been about how things have developed in the last two years?

 

ARRINGTON: Well I have mixed feelings. I don't really know what to really take of

us losing like this because I've never seen it before. So it's just one of those things, one feeling is it's not going to happen for very long. Because it's Penn State and we should be able to overcome that. And then there's the feeling that says, well, you know, change is always good sometimes. So you just never know. I don't know. It's like a tug of war. Can Joe get it together? I hope he can. If he doesn't, well what does the future hold for the team? I don't know. But I stick by him. I think that if anybody can turn it around, Joe can.

 

Q. Do you think Jeremiah is really looking forward to this week's game against Philadelphia?

 

ARRINGTON: I believe so. I don't think it would be legit if he wasn't. I think he's

really pumped up about it. Being a leader for that defense, you know, I think he's pumped up to represent and show Philadelphia what they let get away.


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