- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Linebacker Marcus Washington already senses something is missing. But he says the Washington Redskins will not really notice LaVar Arrington’s absence until training camp, when the booming voice won’t be bouncing off the locker room walls.

“It’s [strange], and it’s going to be for a while,” Washington said yesterday at Redskin Park. “We’ll notice him being gone more during the season — his verbal leadership, his enthusiasm on the field, the way he intimidates opposing teams. But the thing I like about this organization is, since I’ve been here, somebody has stepped up.”

With Arrington and the Redskins parting ways earlier this month, Washington’s role as a leader is expected to increase. He has exhibited that quality by being a workout warrior — even before voluntary workouts started Monday, Washington was a regular at the complex.

“You get to know the guys, and you get that camaraderie,” he said. “I’m here working, and I see guys like Shawn [Springs] and Cornelius [Griffin] working, and I don’t want to let those guys down because I know what they’re putting into this.”

New defensive end Andre Carter has spent the first two days introducing himself to his new teammates. He made a point of being in town for the workouts.

“It’s important to establish chemistry with all of the coaches and just get an idea of who the guys I’ll be playing with and their personalties,” he said. “You don’t want to step on any toes, but you do want to give them an idea of what you’re about.”

Said Washington: “Not only for learning, but to gain the respect of your teammates. A lot of times, if you come in late and other guys have been here working and you say, ‘C’mon, man, pick it up,’ they might say, ‘You weren’t here in March working like I was when I could have been on the beach in Florida or in Sweden or somewhere.’

“If you’re out front in the drills and here working, that’s when you gain the respect of your teammates.”

Agreeing with the bonding aspect, linebacker Chris Clemons said: “We keep each other motivated because it’s hard to work out somewhere and the other guys aren’t around.”

The Redskins defense will feature at least three new starters: Carter, safety Adam Archuleta and whoever takes Arrington’s spot at weak-side linebacker.

Carter hasn’t gotten into the nuts and bolts of the Redskins defensive system yet, but classroom sessions with coordinator/line coach Greg Blache are on the docket for later this spring.

“We’ve analyzed game film from last year and what he wants to emphasize as far as technique and execution,” Carter said. “His style is one I’ve wanted to play for a long time. I started playing like that in 2001 and ‘02, but with the coaching changes I got away from what was best for me. I’m happy to be returning to that style.”

Notes — Running back/special teams ace Rock Cartwright, who re-signed with the Redskins before he became a free agent earlier this month, said he was confident the team would bring him back this season.

“I had faith I would be here,” he said. “Coach Gibbs talked to me on the phone, and I would have done anything to stay here.” …

Washington admitted he was a “little worried” a new collective bargaining agreement wouldn’t be struck, resulting in a lower salary cap and hand-cuffing the Redskins in free agency.

“I was hoping they would come to some kind of agreement,” he said. “Football is the most popular sport, and they didn’t want to put that in jeopardy. Especially when the deadline kept getting pushed back, I knew they would figure out a way to come to terms. If the sides didn’t want a deal, they would have said, ‘Forget it, this is how it’s going to be.’ ” …

Arrington visited the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday.

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