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For Arrington, It's Just Football

LaVar Arrington is putting aside the distractions of the last few weeks--the questions about his playing time, the uncertainty about the health of his knee--and focusing on what he loves: playing football.

Arrington's playing time has increased over the last few weeks and he has continued to split time at weak-side linebacker with Warrick Holdman.

"I just prepare myself every day," Arrington said on Wednesday. "I'm focused on trying to be the best I can be to help this team. So if I get the opportunity to go out there and show what I'm capable of doing, then that's what I'll do."

Head coach Joe Gibbs said on Wednesday that Arrington continues to "practice better."

"It's been a long hard process for him because he's missed so much," Gibbs said. "He missed all of last year and a big chunk of this year. You don't just have to be in the meeting rooms, you have to be out there practicing. I think he was behind and he's closing the gap. It's a work in progress. As he continues to work, he continues to get better."

Arrington recorded four tackles in last Sunday's 36-0 loss to the New York Giants. A week earlier, he logged nine tackles, including two tackles for a loss, as the Redskins trounced the San Francisco 49ers 52-17 at FedExField.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who the Redskins face this Sunday night at FedExField, is preparing for Arrington.

Said McNabb, during a conference call with Washington, D.C. reporters on Wednesday: "When you see a guy like LaVar out there, you see that he plays with so much emotion. I don't know what the situation was when he wasn't playing early on, but I know that he was banged up. I think now they are trying to find ways to get him back on the field."

Arrington's role on Sunday will likely be far different from the last time the Redskins beat the Eagles. On Nov. 25, 2001, Arrington was used as a spy on the elusive, mobile McNabb, and the plan worked. The Redskins won 13-3.

On Sunday, the Redskins could use any number of defensive packages to confuse McNabb and the Eagles' pass-oriented offense.

Arrington has been part of a 3-4 alignment in recent weeks, joining Holdman, Marcus Washington and Lemar Marshall. Of course, injuries to several defensive linemen, including starters Cornelius Griffin and Joe Salave'a, have also dictated that coaches switch to a 3-4 alignment.

"We have a fight this week [against the Eagles]," Arrington said. "More than anything, we just have to get healthy. We're fighting a lot of injuries."

Regarding Sunday's game, Arrington added: "The Eagles are a team that's been on top for quite a while. We're going to have to come out there and be ready. We don't want to be ambushed like we were last week [against the Giants].

"This is a huge game for us. Every week that we play, we have to keep raising our game to the level of being able to win the game. That starts within each and every individual."

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