Arrington begins NFL education

Redskins' draft pick starts to shake off rust

Pro Football

July 24, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

As he was dragging his face out of the dirt after getting planted there courtesy of a James Jenkins block, linebacker LaVar Arrington realized the NFL's oldest lesson.

Everybody's good. Including backup tight ends.

"In college, a lot of people are good," Arrington said. "In high school, very few people are good. Now, everybody is good. That is the biggest change. With Jenkins, I'm thinking I'm not going up against [starting tight end Stephen] Alexander so I should be able to get around him pretty easy. There is no drop-off. I mean Jenkins, he can block."

It was Arrington's first practice since signing a seven-year deal Saturday and ending a six-day holdout. The NFL draft's No. 2 pick, Arrington put on pads and got a chance to hit for the first time since playing with Penn State in the Alamo Bowl in December.

He ran with the second unit, but did not participate in the 45-minute scrimmage that consisted of backups and rookies at the end of practice.

Instead, all of his work came in drills, on special teams and two defensive series earlier in the practice. He was double-teamed when he tried to blitz, something Arrington said he is used to. It was somewhat of a heavy load for a guy linebackers coach Foge Fazio said is nowhere near football shape.

The Redskins do not practice today, but Arrington will meet for hours with Fazio in an attempt to catch up on the defensive schemes. The two met yesterday morning for two hours, then Arrington met with the special teams coaches. Fazio said he will work with Arrington every day, even if the players have the day off.

"He's really about three or four weeks behind," Fazio said. "It's just not that he missed three days of practice. He's a lot behind, so he's a little rusty.

"You still see some explosiveness, but you don't see the strength and the initial movement that you want. There is a little hesitation on different plays."

The other draft picks who have been in camp looked particularly sharp in yesterday's scrimmage. First-round pick Chris Samuels did not participate because he is starter, but third-round pick Lloyd Harrison continued his strong camp and sixth-round pick Todd Husak tossed a touchdown to Derrius Thompson.

Harrison's worth can be measured by the quarterbacks rarely throwing to his side, something usually reserved for fellow cornerback Deion Sanders.

Defensive end Derrick Ham also had a strong scrimmage, recording two sacks and numerous quarterback pressures, mostly over tackle Ed Ellis. Without Andy Heck, who is rehabbing his back away from the team, Ellis struggled to fill his backup role.

"The thing I told them for the last two months we've been working," head coach Norv Turner said, "we are going to find out the guys that like to run around and play football, guys that like to hit somebody and find a place to play him."

NOTES: Running back Stephen Davis worked lightly yesterday, not participating in any team drills. ... Quarterback Brad Johnson threw two interceptions and nearly a third working against the first-team defense. ... The Redskins had their biggest crowd of camp, estimated at more than 7,000, the club said. ... In order to make room for newly signed running back Gerald Arnold, the Redskins waived wide receiver Ethan Howell and linebacker Andre Reed.

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