- The Washington Times - Monday, December 31, 2001

Redskins Notes

NEW ORLEANS Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington was a late inactive last night against the New Orleans Saints after his sprained knee failed to improve.
Linebacker Eddie Mason started for Arrington while guard Matt Campbell subbed for injured guard en Coleman, who remained active.
Both Arrington and Coleman were downgraded from probable to questionable on Friday. Arrington underwent a limited practice on Friday after missing two workouts while Coleman never practiced last week.
It was Arrington's second game missed after he suffered a sprained knee against Green Bay on Sept. 24. Arrington also suffered a concussion against Carolina, but returned later that game. Coleman was a reserve for the first five games while a preseason knee injury healed, but since started 11 games.
Meanwhile, offensive tackles Ross Tucker and Terrance Simmons, guard Alex Sulfsted, receiver Darnerien McCants and linebacker Lemar Marshall were also inactive.

Expensive yards
Washington Redskins running back Stephen Davis picked up $2.5 million last night when he surpassed 1,200 rushing yards for the season.
Davis triggered a guaranteed escalator clause in 2003. He will receive the money on April 1, 2003, even if he no longer is on the team. The payout increases his scheduled base salary that year to $7.5 million and his team-high salary cap figure to $11.4 million.
Davis triggered the clause by rushing for 1,200 yards twice from 2000 to 2002. He also could have done it with 3,300 rushing yards total during that span.
The $11.4 million cap figure almost certainly will force the Redskins to renegotiate Davis' contract or release him. To compare, the highest cap figure on this year's club is the $3.7 million of defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson; the highest scheduled figure next year is Davis' $5.9 million.
A two-time Pro Bowl running back, Davis needed just 27 yards in last night's game to eclipse the 1,200-yard mark. He reached the milestone with 14:12 remaining in the first half on a 6-yard touchdown run to give him 33 yards for the game and 1,205 on the season.
Davis' career-high rushing total is 1,405 yards, set in 1999. Besting that figure in Sunday's finale against the Arizona Cardinals would earn Davis another $750,000 payout, which would count against the 2002 cap.

The trade
Cornerback Champ Bailey remembers the 1999 trade when New Orleans swapped its entire draft plus first- and third-rounders the following year in order to move up in the draft and take running back Ricky Williams with Washington's fifth overall pick.
"Cost me $2 million falling back two spots," Bailey said. "I remember everything. It was interesting. My agent had it figured out because he knew New Orleans wanted to trade everything and Washington wanted to do something."
Washington quickly traded five picks for Chicago's seventh overall selection and took Bailey, whom the Redskins always coveted. Suckering the Saints into the trade also later let the Redskins draft linebacker LaVar Arrington in 2000 and trade picks to select offensive tackle Jon Jansen in 1999.
Essentially, the Saints gained one of the NFL's top running backs while Chicago took quarterback Cade McNown, who was later released. Ironically, former New Orleans coach Mike Ditka recently said he would have taken McNown if the Saints didn't trade up for Williams and still doesn't regret the move.
Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer was an ESPN analyst during the 1999 draft. He wouldn't have traded if he was coaching New Orleans.
"I thought 'Man, that's a lot to give up for one player,'" Schottenheimer said. "I value the numbers of picks because you can find Terrell Davis in the sixth round and a Dave Szott in the seventh. I wouldn't want to give up all those picks for one player because that one player could get hurt. You're not only looking for quality, you're looking for quantity."

Numbers game
Stephen Davis went into last night's game with 1,173 rushing yards this season. Davis, who was averaging 84 yards per game, needed just 67 against the Saints to leapfrog George Rogers (1,203 in 1986), Larry Brown (1,216 in 1972), Earnest Byner (1,219 in 1990) and John Riggins (1,239 in 1984) for sixth place on Washington's season rushing list. Davis set the team record with 1,405 yards in 1999.
New Orleans running back Ricky Williams, who was averaging 81 yards, went into the game needing just 61 to move into fourth place on the Saints' season rushing list with 1,199. Williams had already become the only Saint to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.
Williams, quarterback Aaron Brooks and receiver Joe Horn were just 77 yards from surpassing the 1995 trio of Mario Bates, Jim Everett and Quinn Early as the most productive triumvirate in New Orleans history. And kicker John Carney was just 12 points behind Morten Andersen's season scoring record of 121.

Winning when it counts
New Orleans' Jim Haslett (11-4 against the NFC West) and Washington's Marty Schottenheimer (77-38 against the AFC Central with Cleveland the AFC West with Kansas City and the NFC East with the Redskins) rank first and fourth among NFL coaches for the best records in games within their own divisions. Schottenheimer is just 3-4 in that category with Washington, pending next week's finale against Arizona.
Only 15 of the 53 Saints on the active roster predate Haslett's hiring in 2000. Only 20 of the 53 Redskins on the active roster predate Schottenheimer's arrival last January.

.500 or bust
With last night's victory the Redskins have a chance to finish 8-8 with a win Sunday against Arizona. If Washington manages a .500 record, it would do so for the fifth time in six seasons (the exception being 1998's 6-10 mark) after posting a cumulative 13-35 record from 1993 through 1995.

Road warriors
Washington lost its first four road games this year but now has won four in a row. It is the Redskins' first four-game road winning streak since the 1995 road finale and the first three away contests of 1996. Washington hadn't won four straight on the road in the same season since 1991, the year it last won the Super Bowl.

Long time coming
The Redskins hadn't played the Saints in seven years before last night. Washington had gone longer without playing only Cleveland and Cincinnati of the AFC (both in 1991). In their last meeting on Sept.11, 1994 in the Superdome, Washington beat New Orleans 38-34 to give Norv Turner his first victory as coach of the Redskins. Brian Mitchell took a punt 74 yards for a touchdown for Washington and also raced 86 yards with a kickoff in totaling 225 return yards, the most by a Redskin in 20 years. Quarterback John Friesz, in his only Washington victory, passed for four touchdowns, two to wideout Henry Ellard.

Brothers-in-law, other relations
That's what Redskins linebacker Robert Jones and Saints quarterback Jeff Blake are. Jones and Blake were teammates at East Carolina. Redskins fullback Donnell Bennett and Saints linebacker Darrin Smith aren't that close, but they were teammates at the University of Miami. Redskins receivers Rod Gardner and Michael Westbrook were teammates of Saints tight end Lamont Hall and guard Chris Naeole at Clemson and Colorado, respectively. Redskins running back Stephen Davis played at Auburn with Saints end Willie Whitehead. Redskins offensive tackle Chris Samuels played at Alabama with Saints defensive tackle Kenny Smith.

Through 14 games, New Orleans was tied for second in the NFL with Pittsburgh with 49 sacks, one behind Green Bay. The Saints' 115 sacks the last two years led the league as did their 974 sacks since the beginning of the 1981 season.
Jody Foldesy, Rick Snider and David Elfin

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