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SPORTS WEEKEND | AROUND THE NFC / EAST

This Rookie in No Rush

September 01, 2000|HOUSTON MITCHELL

Is Washington Coach Norv Turner's job already on the line? LaVar Arrington, Washington's prize rookie linebacker, will play only passing downs for now. Ray Rhodes, the new defensive coordinator, has him lining up on the strong side, which negates his freelancing skills.

This is Coach Jim Fassel's fourth season with the New York Giants. He arrived in 1997 and won the division championship with a 10-5-1 record. Since then, it has been all downhill, 8-8 in 1998 and 7-9 last season.

So the offense has undergone a massive face lift. No more 1-2-3-kick. Now the Giants have a multiple-set, motion, shifting offense, led by the fourth starting quarterback in Fassel's four years, Kerry Collins.

The Arizona Cardinals' young defensive line, perhaps the team's weakest link, is in even worse shape with starting end Thomas Burke out because of a knee injury.

Now comes the season opener Sunday against the Giants and their 253-pound rookie running back, Ron Dayne. In the NFL, an offense goes at a team's weakness like a boxer attacking a cut below the eye, so the Cardinals know what's coming.

Dallas may be slipping, and Dave Campo coaches his first game in what could be a long season for the Cowboys.

Philadelphia seems to be coming on behind its last two No. 1 picks, Donovan McNabb and Corey Simon. McNabb might be the best of the six second-year QBs who will start this season.

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