- The Washington Times - Monday, December 6, 2004

LaVar Arrington will be someplace he hasn’t been in 11 weeks tomorrow: the practice field.

The three-time Pro Bowl linebacker was supposed to miss two-to-four weeks after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Sept.28. However, Arrington suffered a deep bone bruise when he slipped while running on the side of the field Oct.25.

Arrington deferred comment to the team’s medical staff. Director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said the bone bruise finally was starting to clear up and Arrington was cleared to participate in scout team work and individual drills.

Defense has foes on run

Washington’s defense leads the NFC despite playing without four starters most of the season. But on the eve of Sunday’s game with the New York Giants, assistant head coach for defense Gregg Williams reminded his players they had a couple of goals remaining: a shutout and a touchdown. The Redskins remain one of four teams without a defensive score, and there was no longer a zero next to New York on the scoreboard when the 31-7 victory ended, but the defense wasn’t to blame.

“They scored on a kickoff, but defensively, we felt like we got that goal accomplished,” right end Renaldo Wynn said.

The Redskins’ biggest accomplishment, however, might be their league-low 3.1 yards allowed a carry. No other team is below 3.5. The Giants’ Tiki Barber came in with a 5.1-yard average, the highest of any back with at least 60 carries, and averaged just 2.5 against them.

“These guys aren’t satisfied with giving up a 2-yard gain,” defensive line coach Greg Blache raved. “They don’t want to give up nothing. It all comes back to alignment, assignment and technique. If the guys are in the right place, they’re playing with tight hands and using good attack footwork, we’re able to control the line of scrimmage. Even the great athletes become better players when they learn to use their hands, learn to use their leverage.”

Gibbs said he has never had a defense so consistently good.

“To see us lose that many guys and for them to be playing that well, I can’t say enough about ‘em,” said Gibbs, whose previous best run defense gave up 3.5 yards a carry in 1989.

The defense’s latest serious injury is the dislocated bone in Phillip Daniels’ wrist, which probably will finish the left end’s season after just five games. Demetric Evans, who started the last three games that Daniels missed, was sidelined Sunday with a bad ankle. X-rays yesterday revealed a small fracture in the fibula, putting Evans in jeopardy for Sunday’s game with NFC-leading Philadelphia. Ron Warner, who started two games, is the next option. Gibbs said the Redskins likely will sign another defensive end.

Extra points

Gibbs said he’s counting on offensive lineman Ray Brown, who has started 10 games even though he turns 42 on Sunday, to return next season. …

The coach said he regrets not throwing more to Chris Cooley earlier in the year. The rookie H-back has 13 catches for three touchdowns in the 3½ games since Patrick Ramsey replaced Mark Brunell at quarterback after catching just 10 passes, two for touchdowns, in the first 8½ games. …

Receiver Laveranues Coles likely will miss practice most of the week after having a cortisone shot in his chronically ailing big toe yesterday, but Tyer expects him to play Sunday. Tight end Robert Royal and nose tackle Joe Salave’a suffered mild sprained knees against the Giants, and cornerback Fred Smoot sprained his wrist, but all figure to face the Eagles. Guard Randy Thomas’ right hamstring is no worse after rushing back to play against the Giants, and he will play this week.

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