Within minutes after Sean Taylor's introductory press conference had ended on Monday, LaVar Arrington walked to the stage and congratulated the newest Redskin. They will have a chance to get more acquainted with each other this weekend as the Redskins host their post-draft mini-camp April 30-May 2.
With first-round draft pick Taylor joining defensive newcomers Marcus Washington, Shawn Springs, Cornelius Griffin and Michael Barrow, among others. Arrington is confident that the Redskins' defense will improve on its 23rd overall ranking last year. The key will be how fast they jell as a unit.
Taylor, known for his coverage skills at Miami, should make a significant contribution in run defense as well, Arrington said.
"I always say the key to a great run defense--it's like a drum going 'thump-thump-thump,'" he said. "If there's a little pause in that drumbeat, that could allow a running back to go 10-, 20-, 30-yards downfield. That could be a touchdown when the game is on the line.
"I don't think that's going to happen with a player like Sean Taylor back there."
With the addition of Barrow at middle linebacker, assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams could follow through on plans to shift Arrington to the weak-side linebacker slot. Washington would then play his natural position at strong-side linebacker.
Arrington played some weak-side linebacker at the Pro Bowl earlier this year. Asked recently why he likes playing weak-side, he said: "Because I can run. The thing is, if you're playing weak-side, you have to be able to run and move around. It takes you away, basically, from being blocked as soon as the ball is snapped. It gives you an opportunity to use your speed."
Taylor's addition gives the Redskins another player who can run sideline-to-sideline and make plays, Arrington said.
"It's great when you have one guy going sideline-to-sideline--it's scary when you have two and they're on different levels," he said.
Williams hopes that Arrington's unique skills and the addition of Taylor will allow him more flexibility to give offenses different looks at various times in a game.
"Offenses are always trying to take you out of your defensive rhythm," Williams said. "They motion and run in different sets--and so defensively you ask, 'How can we do the same thing?' We're going to try and dictate to the offense by running those same people in and out to give them different looks."
Regarding Taylor, Williams said: "You're corners can be so much more aggressive when you have someone like Sean playing behind them. He's a guy with special pass coverage skills that transform into being able to commit more in the box to play the run. But he has to come here and take the next step.
"I'm anxious to get him out here and onto the field [at mini-camp] this weekend."