- The Washington Times - Friday, September 17, 2004

Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington was downgraded to questionable yesterday despite the general belief he would overcome his knee sprain and play tomorrow against the New York Giants.

Arrington, injured in last weekend’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, participated in team drills for a second straight day and seemed to exit without significant concern.

“I got through it,” Arrington said. “I’m pressing through it. No time to hurt. I’m good.”

Coach Joe Gibbs seemed reasonably confident Arrington would start at Giants Stadium, saying, “We’re counting [on], in all likelihood, he’ll play.”

Meanwhile, the Redskins moved closer to a contingency plan at kicker even though John Hall remained confident he would play.

Ola Kimrin, who hit all four of his field goal attempts for Washington in the preseason, was added to the practice squad. He could be signed to the active roster today if Hall suffers a setback.

However, the odds still seem high that Hall will participate. Having played through a hamstring strain he suffered early in the Bucs game, Hall emerged from treatment yesterday and proclaimed himself “fine.”

“Same as yesterday,” he added. “I’m going.”

Said Gibbs: “We’re just going to leave all our options open. But he did more [in practice] today. I was surprised at how well he did.”

Gibbs also mentioned punter Tom Tupa as a possibility if Hall were injured during the game.

Linebacker Mike Barrow, still nursing knee tendinitis, remains questionable. Even if Barrow ends up making his Redskins debut, Antonio Pierce probably would get most of the reps at middle linebacker.

“I don’t know,” Gibbs said of Barrow. “It’s hard to judge that. I probably need to talk to him. It’s going to take him more work. But I’d say I’d probably be a little skeptical about him playing.”

Sticking it to ‘em

Cornerback Fred Smoot was awarded the “hit stick” for his crackback block in punt coverage last week. The award, given for the club’s hardest special teams hit of the week, had Gibbs wondering just how cocky Smoot would get.

“I told [special teams coach Danny Smith], ‘We may not ever live that down,’ ” Gibbs said with a laugh. “Smooter won it the first time, I said, ‘Man, I can’t wait to see that strut.’ ”

Said Smoot: “You try to get one of my Redskins, I’m going to get you first.” …

Extra points

Gibbs went 6-6 at Giants Stadium during his first stint as Redskins coach. During one stretch (1984 to 1990), he lost six of seven games there to Bill Parcells.

“I don’t want to go up there,” Gibbs said. “That’s what I remember. I’ve got a lot of bad memories. We had a tough time up there.” …

The 30 rushing yards allowed against the Bucs were the fewest for Washington in a decade. Not since the New Orleans Saints were limited to 28 on Sept. 11, 1994, had the Redskins enjoyed a better effort on the ground.

“Got to build on it, get better,” Arrington said. “[The Giants have] a good offense. People aren’t really talking about it, but they’ve got a good offense. It’s going to be a challenge for us.”

In a 31-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last week, the Giants rushed for 170 yards. …

The Redskins had one of the NFL’s youngest rosters in 2003 but actually rank among the oldest clubs in Gibbs’ first season. According to statistics released by the league, Washington’s average age is 27.49, older than all but the Bucs (27.81) and the Carolina Panthers (27.68).

“It’s probably a good mix,” Gibbs said when asked his perception of the Redskins’ roster.

The Chicago Bears are youngest at 25.26 years. …

The Redskins released linebacker Dominique Stevenson and signed linebacker Devin Lemons off the practice squad. Kimrin took Lemons’ spot. Defensive lineman Ryan Boschetti also was signed to the practice squad, while defensive lineman Nic Clemons was cut from it to make room.

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