Armstead: Toughness Needed

Jessie Armstead

The Redskins responded to their preseason opening loss with this: fights, lots of jawing at one another and a few cuss words by the coaches. It's what the players say was needed. ''You don't want to beat down your teammates,'' Redskins linebacker Jessie Armstead said. ''We need each other on Sundays.

But this is training camp and this is the time where you lay down the law on both sides of the ball to get that toughness in your team. There are times when a coach has to throw up that glove and say it's time to [hit].''

Armstead also doesn't want to hear any excuses. Afer one preseason game he's seen things that must improve.

''We've got what is considered the best offensive line in the league as far as talent and money,'' Armstead said. ''You look at the guys who are well paid on defense and we have no excuses. We've got all the things in place. Now it's left up to the players to create that toughness. We took it amongst ourselves right now to make sure we start building that game by game.''

The defensive players certainly had fun trying to instill more toughness Monday.

''We needed to do that more often,'' Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington said. ''Try to be intense all the time. That usually works.''

Redskins coach Steve Spurrier had told the players before practice to hit a little harder--but not to knock over the offensive players.

After one play, running back Chad Morton shoved Armstead after the linebacker had given him an extra hit in an 11-on-11 drill, which led to a scrum.

At least one coach got knocked down by the pile and words were exchanged between several players, including Arrington and receiver Rod Gardner.

On the next play, linebacker Jeremiah Trotter drove running back Sultan McCollough into the ground after he caught a pass in the right flat. Defensive coordinator George Edwards shouted at Trotter, using an expletive and sending him to the sidelines.

Later in practice, Morton and Armstead again got tangled up and the 5-foot-8 Morton would not let go of the 6-foot-1, 237-pound linebacker. Finally, Spurrier intervened and the players separated.

''That was stuff that shouldn't have happened,'' Spurrier said of the scrapes. ''I hope it doesn't happen again. I don't encourage that.''

The players didn't seem to mind.

''We needed a little pick-me-up and there's no better way to do that than a fight,'' Morton said. ''No one likes to lose. We need [the fights] sometimes. It fires everyone up.''

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