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News & Notes: The LaVar Factor

Giants' linebacker LaVar Arrington played his first game against his former team and recorded one tackle. He also batted away one pass.

Arrington did not start the game, since the Giants opened with five defensive backs. He came in on the second play of the game.

Arrington came out of the game at various points, based on the Giants' defensive package, but he remained prominent on the sidelines, waving to fans to create noise.

From 2000-05, Arrington was one of the more popular players in Washington, D.C., earning three Pro Bowl nods.

Arrington's departure was acrimonious--he expressed as much in a media session with New York media last week. Head coach Joe Gibbs tried to defuse the situation by saying last week that he regretted how things turned out for Arrington in Washington.

Giants' linebacker Antonio Pierce, also a former Redskin, had a larger impact on the game, recording six tackles.



Last week, as the Redskins began preparations for Sunday's matchup against the Giants, the Redskins' coaching staff decided to compare the statistical breakdown of a game with a team's mindset heading into a game.

The reason? Coaches wanted to understand why the Giants could so thoroughly dominate the Redskins last year at the Meadowlands. The Giants won 36-0 over the Redskins on Oct. 30, 2005, just a few days after owner Wellington Mara had passed away.

Assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams believes that the Redskins and Giants last year were, for the most part, two evenly matched teams. But the death of Mara provided inspiration for the Giants, who wanted to honor their late owner's memory with a win.

"It kind of shows that a large part of the game is mindset," Williams said. "The NFL is very even in the ability that goes around the league. There are few tremendous difference-makers every time teams step on the field.

"We got overwhelmed up there last year. They were ready to go. It was an inspirational and motivational game for them after their owner died. We didn't play the way we normally play."

Added head coach Joe Gibbs: "For all of our players here, that game is a memory that you don't like. It was a sad day in sports. A lot of times you forget some of the wins, but you won't forget those tough losses like that one. I don't think I will ever forget that one. It is something that just sticks with you. It is hard to get out of your mind."

Seven weeks later, the Giants arrived at FedExField and the Redskins handed them a 35-20 defeat.

"All of a sudden, the mindset went back in our favor," Williams said. "We need to try and get that one thing corrected when we play up there. Coach Gibbs did a really good job all week long on making sure that we were ready to handle the wave of emotions."


Derrick Frost was used on kickoffs in Sunday's game, replacing John Hall.

Joe Gibbs said that Hall was experiencing a "tired leg" last week in practice, so the team opted to rest him on kickoffs.

"Anytime we get that, we feel confident with Derrick," Gibbs said.

Frost kicked off twice in the game and both times Giants' kick returner Chad Morton fielded the ball at the 8-yard line. Morton had a 35-yard return in the first quarter.

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