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Arrington Blowing off Steam

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Arrington Blowing off Steam

Arrington didn't seem to be too angry about being
forced to play against San Francisco in December

There's a certain danger in examining the words of a 26 year old man who wears his emotions on his sleeve. It's especially dangerous when that player has just had knee surgery for the second time in seven months. But as the whole thing has created quite an uproar so let's parse some of his statements as quoted in the Washington Post:
Why is it that nobody is really speaking about how hard and the sacrifices I put forth to try to get back out there? They're so quick to talk about what we do wrong.The first part is just silly. Is Joe Gibbs supposed to call a press conference to praise Arrington to do what he gets paid millions to do, spend the offseason getting prepared to play in the fall? And the second part is just wrong, at least in public. This coaching staff does not criticize the players to the press.
To me it kind of [stinks]; it [stinks], because it's not like I have a relationship built with [the coaches] anyway, because they're new and then I get hurt and every year it's always someone new [as a head coach]. This sounds almost hysterical. First of all, maybe there would not have been so many new coaches had Arrington done what previous coaches had asked him to do. Arrington wouldn't play within the defensive scheme as Kurt Schottenheimer wanted him to do and he gave a lot of resistance to playing from a three-point stance as Marvin Lewis wanted him to do. Actions such as that help keep the coaching revolving door turning.

On top of that, wasn't Arrington one of the players who didn't return phone calls to Gibbs when the coach was rehired back in January of '04? Certainly, his enthusiasm for the return of the legendary coach was very limited. Last time I checked it takes two to build a relationship.
Does that mean it's right the way it's being handled? . . . It makes you wonder, man, what's their agenda?Their agenda is to win football games, not to coddle players and massage their egos.

When asked if he'd discussed his feelings about the situation with Gibbs, Arrington said:
I don't really care, to be honest. I just care about getting healthy and trying to be able to play. I don't really care what anybody thinks at this pointIn other words, no, I'm blasting away with both barrels publicly without talking to the coach first.
I'm taking as much time as I need, and if that means they're upset and want to get rid of me, then so be it. But I'm not coming back before my knee is better. I tried it their way, and it got me on crutches again. Now I'm going to try it the way that Dr. Andrews and the rest of the medical staff want me to do, and that's the bottom line.
Now this is a pretty serious charge here. Arrington is saying that the Redskins forced him to do things against the advice of his doctor and that they would get rid of him if he didn't go along. It would naive to think that such things don't happen, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Here are Arrington's own words from Redskins.com on December 8:
I felt pretty good out there," he said. "I still have to get a little more comfortable out there. I fee relatively new right now, as funny as that may sound. . .Guys are still fighting and continuing to get things done--I want to be a part of it. I don't want sit back and watch when I'm healthy. So if I'm healthy and I'm not on Injured Reserve, I'd like an opportunity to go out there and play. That's the way I feel.So, that's the way he felt then. Yesterday, it was this:
I worked my [butt] off to get back on the field and for what? Three [late-season] games? There wasn't no playoffs on the line. There wasn't no Super Bowls, and I still worked my [butt] off to play in those three games.
If Arrington is waiting for a brass band to lead the ticker tape parade to celebrate him busting his [butt] so that he can perform the job he gets paid millions of dollars to do, he will be sorely disappointed.

For his part, Gibbs said the following:
Being the guy he is and the competitor he is, he wanted to play, But I told him, long-term, what's important to us is you, your health. Not just you as a player, but as a person.Certainly, Gibbs is putting the best face on this from the team's point of view. If the NFL was truly concerned about the long-term health of its players it probably would have to shut down entirely as virtually nobody who plays for any length of time escapes without some degree of long-term damage to his body. Still, at least as far as last December is concerned, it does appear that Arrington was feeling well and quite eager to take the field.

Lost in the he said, he said exchange between Gibbs and Arrington is the important aspect of the story, the fact that Arrington had the surgery. Unanswered here is a key question: was the procedure necessary because he played in December or because he pushed himself too hard trying to rehab in time for minicamp or was it because there was some stuff in there that wasn't found in the initial operation? This is the information that really matters, but we don't get that.

There is danger in making too much out of this. In the halls of Redskins Park, a couple of reporters happen upon Arrington, who is on crutches and feeling very down. In answer to a question like "How's it going, LaVar?", the reporters get a notebook full.

This doesn't mean, however, that all is well at Redskins Park. There certainly is some hangover from the only constant being change in coaches, staff, and players. The long-term effects of that chaos might take a lot longer to work their way out than many of us thought.

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Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

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Associated Press

Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

The sudden resignation of Barry Trotz as the coach of the Stanley Cup champion Capitals is the most stunning Washington coaching departure since Joe Gibbs retired from the Redskins about 13 months after the team won its third Super Bowl in a 10-year span. 

In the years leading up to Gibbs’ departure, there were some rumblings that he might leave. As early as 1986, John Madden said that Gibbs was a candidate to burn out of the profession early. During the 1989 season, Gibbs said that he was contemplating retirement, but he retracted his words the next day. In 1990, columnist and TV pregame panelist Will McDonough reported that Gibbs would retire after the season. Retirement rumors popped up again in early 1992, just two days before Super Bowl XXVI. Again, Gibbs denied them. The Redskins easily beat the Bills to claim their third championship in 10 years and there was no apparent reason why such a successful coach would think about leaving. 

Redskins fans had become so used to hearing the Gibbs retirement reports that many just started to tune them out. So on the morning of March 5, 1993, when reports of Gibbs’ resignation as coach started to circulate, many were in a state of denial.

That turned out to be wishful thinking. The fans were given a hard jolt of reality when the team announced a noon press conference. 

There the coach was on TV, as promised, confirming the news. He said it was a family decision. 

“Every year, we get away and talk about it,” Gibbs said. “We always reach the same conclusion. This year, it was different. The boys didn’t encourage me one way or another, but they understood when I told them what I was thinking. I think Pat’s happier than anyone. This isn’t an easy lifestyle for a coach’s wife. The coach is the guy who stands up and hears everyone tell him how great he is. The wife is the one waiting at home alone while the coach is spending every night at the office. 

“I wanted more time with my family. I wanted more time with my sons. I look at this as a window of opportunity with them and I couldn’t let it pass.” 

Although he has been diagnosed with a condition that has caused some pain and some difficulty in sleeping, Gibbs said that health was not a factor in his decision. 

Richie Petitbon, the team’s longtime defensive coordinator, was named the team’s new head coach. It had to be one of the shortest job interviews ever. 

“I get a call from Mr. Cooke who tells me Joe has retired and that he wants me to coach the Redskins,” Petitbon said. “After I picked myself up off the floor, I said yes.” 

After hearing the news, most Redskins fans had to pick themselves up as well.  

Petitbon lasted only one season as the head coach and the other eight head coaches who followed, including Gibbs himself in a four-year second stint, have been unable to get the Redskins back to the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, the Caps’ head coaching job is widely expected to go to Todd Reirden, who was Trotz’s top assistant just as Pettitbon was Gibbs’. 

Washington fans hope that the Caps have better fortune with Trotz’s successors. 

More Redskins

- 53-man roster: Roster projection--Offense
- 53-man roster: Best players 25 or younger

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

 

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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 19, 37 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on defense; the offense was posted yesterday.

Defensive line (7)
Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Stacy McGee, Tim Settle, Ziggy Hood

I don’t think that McGee’s groin injury will be an issue, but it seemed that Jay Gruden was very tight-lipped about the whole thing, so we will have to wait until training camp starts. This is one more than they normally carry here and Hood’s presence on the roster could be in danger if injuries force the team to carry more players at another position. 

Outside linebacker (4)
Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Pernell McPhee

Anderson is certain to make the roster, but he was mostly invisible during the offseason practices that were open to the media. The spotlight will be on last year’s second-round pick in training camp. After a zero-sack rookie season, Anderson will be under pressure to produce this season. 

Inside linebacker (5)
Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaun Dion Hamilton

The player I have on the wrong side of the bubble here is Martrell Spaight. If he does work his way on, the spot most in jeopardy is Vigil’s. Harvey-Clemons got a lot of reps with the first team in OTAs and the team thinks he can help in nickel situations and perhaps more. And Gruden called Hamilton a potential future starter. So the two younger players seem safe, leaving Vigil vulnerable.

Cornerback (6)
Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Orlando Scandrick, Josh Holsey, Greg Stroman

As is the case with the running backs that I looked at yesterday, this group seems to be pretty well set. It’s not that it’s an exceptionally strong group, but there isn’t a lot of real competition. Behind these six are three undrafted free agents, and while Danny Johnson, Kenny Ladler, and Ranthony Texada all have had flashes in the offseason practices, they are extreme long shots to make the roster at this point. 

Safety (4)
D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke

If there are concerns about Nicholson’s health—to be clear, as of now there are none—Fish Smithson could make it as a fifth safety. 

Specialists (3)
K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way, LS Nick Sundberg

It looks like the Redskins will have the same trio of specialists for the fourth straight year. I will look it up at some point but for now, I’ll say that it’s been a while since they had such stability here. 


Defensive players: 26
Rookies (5): 
Payne, Settle, Hamilton, Stroman, Apke
New to the Redskins in 2018 (7): Rookies plus McPhee, Scandrick
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (13): Rookies plus new players plus Vigil (released in the final cut, re-signed later in the season). 

On the 53-man roster:

24 offense, 26 defense, 3 specialists
Rookies: 8
New to the Redskins in 2017: 12
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster: 16

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 37
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 51
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 74

The Redskins last played a game 170 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 82 days. 

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