- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 1, 2002

With Washington off last weekend, Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington headed north to watch his former schools play, with mixed results.

Pittsburgh's North Hills High School breezed to victory, but Penn State lost to visiting Iowa 42-35. And Arrington didn't see the finish of the Nittany Lions' upset defeat because he was ejected from the sideline for comments to an official.

"The guy had very little respect," Arrington said. "I wasn't harassing the guy all game or anything. I asked him one time what game he was watching and that was it. Was he watching the scores on the scoreboard? The way he came running after me, it looked like he wanted to put some pads on.

"He was messing up some calls. I guess he was frustrated that he was missing some calls so I guess he felt he was making himself do something by making a call on me. If [Nittany Lions coach] Joe Paterno gets upset over the officiating, you know it was a problem. But you live and learn. The next time I go to a [Penn State] game, I won't say anything to a ref."

Marty's 4-0

While coach Steve Spurrier's Redskins are in the NFC East cellar, predecessor Marty Schottenheimer has the NFL's best record.

Schottenheimer, fired by Redskins owner Dan Snyder in January despite an 8-3 finish (after an 0-5 start) is 4-0 in San Diego.

"I'm happy for Marty," Arrington said. "You're always happy to see someone you know, someone you played for, do well."

Arrington said he's surprised when a coach new to a team does well in the NFL, but receiver Derrius Thompson, for one, isn't even though the Chargers haven't made the playoffs since 1995 and are coming off a 5-11 season.

"It's not like the Chargers didn't have talent," Thompson said. "They started off [3-0] last year and then they fell off. They just needed some discipline and Marty brought that."

Rasby returns

Redskins tight end Walter Rasby practiced yesterday for the first time since spraining his knee in the Aug.24 preseason game at Tampa Bay. Rasby did both individual and team drills but admitted he isn't in game shape.

"Right now it feels really good," Rasby said after practice. "The test is always the next morning, to see whether or not it swells, or how it responded. But right now it feels really good."

Teammates are eager for Rasby to return because he is such a solid run-blocker. Third-year man Zeron Flemister has been filling in but is more of a receiver.

Flemister worked with the first team yesterday, but Spurrier expects nine-year veteran Rasby to start Sunday at Tennessee.

Tackle Chris Samuels also returned to practice after sitting out last Thursday with several nagging injuries. Daryl Gardener was back after being sidelined last Thursday with the flu, and fellow defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson was in action again after being held out last Thursday with a sprained right wrist. Wilkinson continues to work with a heavy cast that limits his ability to tackle.

Lessons learned

The bye gave the Redskins an opportunity to get back to basics a key since some players said they weren't sure of themselves in the new offensive and defensive schemes.

Players also reflected on their attitude during the first three weeks, specifically acknowledging that there might have been some overconfidence, given the talent on both sides of the ball and the respect accorded Spurrier and defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis.

"Teams go into the season excited and confident," Wilkinson said. "But you still have to go out there and execute, go out there and put it together. I think we were a lot more excited than we were [ready] to put this thing together. Now it's coming together, and I think we just have to work week by week on getting it together."

Arrington had even a simpler solution to the 1-2 start.

"We've been too nice; we have to be nasty," Arrington said.

Asked if the Redskins were playing the reeling Titans (1-3) at a good time, Arrington said, "The next few teams are catching us at the wrong time. The week off was really good. This team is really focused on getting better."

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