Thursday, October 13, 2005

The LaVar Arrington Controversy

My one concern over the conflict between the coaching staff and LaVar over his playing time is this: What happens when Gregg Williams takes a head coaching job somewhere else?

This defense is extraordinary without LaVar because of Williams's plug-and-play schemes. There are multiple examples of former second-and third-string defenders taking over for injured or departed first stringers with no loss of effectiveness. Last year, unknown Antonio Pierce took over for departed Trotter and injured Barrow at middle linebacker and finished third in the NFC in tackles. Lemar Marshall took over for Pierce this year and is second on the team and near the top of the league in tackles. All-world Champ Bailey departed and Shawn Springs took over and gave up fewer scores than Bailey. Springs gets hurt and Harris steps in and twice stops Dallas on third down with open-field tackles. All-everything LaVar got hurt last year and the team finished third in the NFL in defense. This list is a lot longer, too.

So what will happen? If I were Joe Gibbs and Daniel Snyder, I'd convince Gregg that the head coaching job is his in 2009 when Gibbs retires (with three more Lomabardis I might add). Gibbs will be 69 then and will have done everything an NFL head coach can do. Williams might also want to avoid the "Peter Principle" that so many great assistant coaches succumb to when taking a head coaching job. In fact, Williams has already been hit with it once when he took the head coaching job with the Bills after being so successful as a defensive coordinator for the Titans. Learning how to be a head coach from Gibbs over the next five years could do him a world of good.

Gregg is clearly one of the best defensive minds in the game and his schemes require teamwork, where athleticism is great, but precision is imperative. Other defensive coordinators need more athleticism. If Gregg leaves, the Redskins defense better have as many good athletes like LaVar as possible.


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