Sunday, April 23, 2006

Lavar Arrington: I'll see you again.

So, Lavar "I'll get even with you" Arrington pulled it off. The disgruntled linebacker wanted to play where he could face the Redskins twice each season. He got his wish when he signed with the New York Giants. As Tony Kornheiser points out, his and Terrell Owens presence in the NFC East will make this division the most intriging for its soap opera drama.

Here is why this move should not worry Redskins fans. The Lavar of April 2006 is a backup backer. The best linebacker on the team is Marcus Washington. Arrington's slow recovery from injury and alledged failure to adapt to the Redskins defensive schemes raise concerns, as it should. His $6.5 million contract dispute with the owner and personality clashes with his coaches made for a poisonous atmosphere, where my sentiments were more with Arrington than the team. I do think the Redskins would be better off keeping than losing him, but the Redskins defense will be tough regardless.

Antonio Pierce's move to the Giants last season was a bigger loss. Yet, the Skins made the playoff last year. The thought of ex-Redskins Pierce and Arrington together on the same field is more a concern than Arrington's move alone.

That gets to the point. Lavar was not as a good fit in Gregg Williams' defense as he once was in Steve Spurrier's. Spurrier didn't care much about defense, so he left defensive schemes to his inexperienced coaches who let Lavar be Lavar -- an individual contributor who could take over a game now and again. Joe Gibbs and Gregg Williams -- and Tom Coughlin -- develop schemes where a squad plays as an integrated unit. Every cog must be in its place. Lavar tried, but his coaches felt there were better cogs for the money. In the end, they just weren't using him much.

What's more, the give back of his bonus money enabled the Redskins to make some serious upgrades on offense. Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle-El for Arrington are exchanges I would make any day, any time. Even in leaving, Lavar helped the Redskins.

Phil Jackson said of Kobe Bryant "the kid needed a break." That's true for Lavar, too. Although I believe Nick Saban and the Miami Dolphins would have been the best fit for Arrington, the G-men can use his abilities. The very average Giants defense are potentially the most disruptive in the division. Before he could make this move, he had to make the lonely sojourn through the NFL to guage his true worth. I'm guessing the Giants guaranteed less than the $18 million money he was asking.

The Philadelphia Eagles, who could use a pass rushing linebacker, made no play for Arrington. That surprises me. All of the Eagles' off season moves surprise me.

Lavar's move to a divison opponent is one of those things that can spice up this ancient rivalry. He's coming with an attitude. The Redskins O-line had best be ready. I can't wait.

Sunday, October 8, 2006 - Redskins @ Giants
Saturday, December 30, 2006 - Giants @ Redskins

Soap Opera Sunday in the NFC East is October 8, when the Skins visit Lavar and the Giants and when TO and his Cowboy posse visit the Iggles. Good football. Good entertainment. One of those games should have been on Monday night.

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