- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 17, 2001

The warning is simple: Chop blocks will bring immediate retaliation.

The Washington Redskins' defense promises payback tomorrow if the Denver Broncos' offensive line tries its controversial leg blocks. In fact, the Redskins were bitter just thinking about the possibility of the dangerous tactic. Players ignored the usual reservations on producing bulletin board material. They want the Broncos to know they'll counterpunch if provoked.

"If they get me, I'm going to get them back, " defensive tackle Kenard Lang said. "You keep your head on a swivel. Most teams get nasty."

The Broncos have long been known for the controversial lower-body hits that risk serious injury to opponents. Guard Dan O'Neal was fined $15,000 for a chop block that broke New England linebacker Bryan Cox's leg Oct. 28, with the latter initially promising retaliation. Many teams use the controversial technique at times, but Denver is best known for it.

"Every offensive lineman I've played against is dirty I don't think you can be one without being dirty, " said defensive end Marco Coleman. "Same goes for defensive linemen. Whenever they can't get you running by them and they can't get you up top, they cut you. You have to protect yourself."

Said defensive end Bruce Smith: "A lot of players' career have been damaged because of that style. I'm glad the league has finally taken a stand on that. … There's no room in the game for that kind of play."

Linebacker LaVar Arrington first suspected a chop block when he suffered a high ankle sprain against Seattle on Nov. 4. Several teammates said it was their first thought as well and expected a brawl to follow. Arrington later recanted his suspicion but has no respect for cheap-shot artists.

"I have a son. I want to go home and look my son in the face and say, 'I play like a man, '" Arrington said. "I'm not going to comment on [Denvers] offensive line."

Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer said sustaining initial hits will neutralize Denver's offensive line.

"The guy you're lined across, when he goes somewhere you got to go hit him because they do a great job of 'scooping and slipping, '" he said. "They're a zone blocking team and do a great job with their quickness."

Arrington ready

Arrington will start after making a quick recovery from a high ankle sprain that often sidelines players two to four weeks. Tight end Stephen Alexander will miss his fourth game with a similar injury.

Teammates were relieved about Arrington's return. The team's hardest hitter has played well against the run and provides some pass rush "We definitely need his ability to track down running backs and quarterbacks, " Smith said.

Offensive tackle Chris Samuels and linebacker Eddie Mason returned to practice after missing one day with the flu.

Who's your daddy?

Defensive tackle Del Cowsette has harassed receiver Rod Gardner regularly since Maryland beat Clemson 37-20 on Saturday. Cowsette is the lone former Terp in the locker room and has quieted teammates this season after taking plenty of abuse earlier.

"In the beginning of the year, Rod said, 'Maryland's sorry.' Then when they started winning, he said, 'It's a fluke.'" Cowsette said. "Now that we beat them, he doesn't have anything to say. Every time I get the chance, I rub it in his face."

cStaff reporter Jody Foldesy contributed to this report.

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