- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 2, 2005

For the first time since Steve Spurrier was in charge, LaVar Arrington was an every-down player for the Washington Redskins defense last week in the second half of their 36-0 loss to the New York Giants. Coupled with his 20-plus snaps against San Francisco, No. 56 is starting to feel like his old self.

“It was great to be able to have that opportunity,” he said. “It’s the first time this season that I’ve had that chance, even though it came in a losing effort. I felt it was a good thing for me to get in there and hit and hit and hit and be hit to get a feel for what I really need to work on to be more effective.”

Arrington has 12 tackles in the last two games, and although the Redskins’ unofficial depth chart lists Warrick Holdman as the starting weak-side linebacker, Arrington undoubtedly has earned additional playing time Sunday night when the Redskins play host to Philadelphia.

“He’s in a lot of stuff we’re doing,” coach Joe Gibbs said yesterday. “He’s been gradually doing more and more each week. … It’s been a long, hard process, and he missed a lot of time. I don’t care if you’re in the meeting room; you have to be out there working. He’s been closing the gap and getting a lot more work, and as you get more work, you get into football shape.”

During the first half of last week’s game, Arrington played in the 3-4 package before playing the second half in the Redskins’ base 4-3 front.

“As I went on in that second half, I got comfortable, and I think it showed in the way I was playing,” he said.

Arrington said some of his second-half tackles — albeit in a blowout — came as a result of playing in the first half, reading the Giants’ tendencies and becoming more aggressive.

“If you study the type of player that I am, I make all my big plays in the second half,” he said. “People can criticize me for that, but I play solid football in the first half, too, but the times I take a chance are in the second half. There are certainly things that are hard to get a hold of if you’re just coming in off the bench. It’s hard to get into a rhythm and get the timing of my rush.”

Regardless of whether he starts, Arrington is satisfied as long as he continues to get opportunities.

“Whatever the situation,” he said, “I’ll take it because I was in there and getting familiar with playing every down. I felt good on every play, felt that I could have kept playing.”

Moss, others sit

Headlined by receiver Santana Moss’ absence because of illness, seven players — including six starters — missed practice yesterday. Moss attended the morning walkthrough and meetings before being sent home.

Defensive linemen Cornelius Griffin (hip flexor), Joe Salave’a (foot) and Phillip Daniels (ankle), tight end Robert Royal (calf), left tackle Chris Samuels (knee) and cornerback Omar Stoutmire (hamstring) did not practice.

Griffin, Salave’a, Stoutmire and Royal are listed as questionable. Gibbs said the team expects Salave’a to play.

No injection for Salave’a

Salave’a, who has played through plantar fasciitis for two games, said he would take a cortisone shot only as a last resort.

“That will be an option, but that’s something I would like to avoid,” he said. “If it comes up, we’ll talk it over. I believe the trainers and doctors will recommend it only if it’s the last option. I’m trying to avoid it.”

Salave’a also is exploring acupuncture treatment for the injury.

Extra points

Gibbs said a John Hall-Nick Novak kicker decision will not come until late in the week. Hall was active against the Giants but did not attempt a kickoff or placement. …

The Redskins did not seriously consider signing a defensive lineman — even to the practice squad — Tuesday.

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