- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington, seeking his first invitation to the Pro Bowl, got an emphatic vote of support yesterday from coach Marty Schottenheimer.
Schottenheimer, asked if his strongside linebacker has played well enough to reach the Pro Bowl, replied, "If they're having one, yeah."
The comment elicited laughter at the coach's news conference, but Schottenheimer made clear that he wasn't joking about the credentials of his speedy and powerful player for the Feb. 9 all-star game.
"I was involved with a guy named Harry Carson, whom you all remember," Schottenheimer said, referring to the New York Giants' nine-time Pro Bowl linebacker. "I used to marvel at the things he could do physically as a player. And LaVar is amazing."
Fans thus far agree with Schottenheimer, voting for Arrington more frequently than any other outside linebacker, according results posted Thursday. Over the weekend Arrington strengthened his case in Washington's 20-10 win at Arizona, recording a team-high 10 tackles, an interception and a pass defensed.
Arrington, who also has earned a reputation for ignoring injuries, was dinged up again Sunday. He said he took a painkiller on the flight home because of how badly his shoulder hurt. But he did not expect the injury to affect his preparation for Sunday's big game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Chicago's Brian Urlacher, selected seven picks after Arrington in the 2000 draft (ninth vs. second overall), leads fan voting for middle linebackers. Players and coaches are scheduled to vote on Dec. 26 and 27.
No more Marty Ball?
For a second straight day Schottenheimer indicated that the Redskins' future makeup might not be so conservative even though their current style of power running, stopping the run and field position is being called "Marty Ball."
After the victory at Arizona, Schottenheimer spoke wistfully about what it would be like to have the St. Louis Rams' pass-happy, league-leading offense. Yesterday he reiterated that his run-based, ball-control strategy is predicated largely on personnel.
"In our situation, running the football helps everything else that we do," Schottenheimer said. "For us, right now, that's the way we'd like to be. As I mentioned, if we were set up to throw it all over the place, fine, throw it all over the place. Do whatever you do best. That's what helps you grow."
Reminded that he, as director of football operations, has the opportunity to configure personnel in any manner he chooses, Schottenheimer said salary cap concerns have hampered his Rams fantasy.
"We always become a product of all of those that are a part of this the players," Schottenheimer said. "The decision-making in today's game is such that you can't always get every player you like. And you better be able to coach the ones that you have. I've always wondered what it would be like to throw it 35 times a game."
'Specially good
Schottenheimer singled out Washington's special teams as perhaps the key factor in the win at Arizona, and special teams captain Michael Bates said the units' overall performance in kicking, coverage and returns was the best of the season.
Particularly impressive were coverage units, led by flyer Kato Serwanga. An Oct. 16 free-agent signing, Serwanga made a kickoff tackle at the 10, a punt tackle at the 6 and downed a punt at the 1. Arizona's average starting field position was 21 yards less than that of Washington.
"That really played an outcome in the game, because we left a lot of yards and points out on the field," Schottenheimer said, referring to 13 penalties and two missed field goals. "Had we not been able to play the field-position game like we did, we might have had a different outcome."
Extra points
There were no serious injuries at Arizona. Fullback Donnell Bennett has a sprained ankle but should play. The club hopes to get reserve offensive lineman Matt Campbell (knee) back from a three-week absence. Tight end Stephen Alexander (ankle) should resume activity this week but probably won't practice or play. …
Schottenheimer has sought league clarification on the challenge he lost at Arizona. Officials ruled there could be no interference on one pass intended for Michael Westbrook because the ball had been tipped by a defender. Replays seemed to show that the ball was not tipped, but officials, after a review, said only that there was not enough evidence to overturn the initial call.

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