The Inside Slant

Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington never experienced this much losing, not in high school and certainly not at Penn State. Like everyone else, he's tired of it. And he's not afraid to say it. ''Losing is a horrible thing, especially if you're used to winning. It's not something you ever want to get used to doing.

''Losing messes with your mental. You sit there and look around the locker room and you look at teammates and say, 'That's Champ Bailey. That's Stephen Davis. Why are losing?' It's a weird feeling, you know? The funny thing is when I'm at Penn State, it was like the world was coming to an end if we lost and in high school it definitely came to an end if we lost. Back then it was about how far we were going to go in the playoffs or how many shutouts will we put up.

''I've never been part of something where I've had to deal with losing so much.

''It's easy to lose. If there's one thing that's easy to do it's to be a loser because it doesn't take much effort to do it. As long as you have guys who want to win and have the will to win--and we have that in this locker room--then it's got to change. At some point it has to change.

''That's not the morale of this team. The morale is not to lose. Nobody's comfortable with losing. You've got to bite the bullet when you have seasons like this. But this is nothing that people are going to get used to us doing. I just can't see that.

''We're angry. I don't think anyone's comfortable about the position we're in. If there's one thing I really had hoped and wished for and dreamed for this season, it's that we had a good year for the fans.

''It would be nice to have what the Eagles have. I mean, geez, they've got that type of continuity and everything's clicking together. That defense has been solid for years and they just add a couple of guys to upgrade here and there.

''That's what having a defensive system and a bunch of guys that's been around the scheme for years does for you. You don't miss a beat and when a guy goes down you have guys who can step in. It provides a lot of comfort and confidence when you know what you're doing.

''When I was at Penn State our defense was so in tune with what was going on you could have discussions with the coordinator about certain things to do and you can almost call the game. We're not to that point yet.

''But you have to give a guy an opportunity to build a Joe Gibbs era, give players an opportunity to be around and be part of a year to year tradition. That's the only way it's going to happen, the only way that turnaround will take place.

''We want guys to hang in there. These are the tough times, people don't see the preparation that's involved with this, they don't see the growing pains of this team building. But they'll see when we start winning and they'll say, 'They should have been doing that all along.' ''

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