He played under Bills defensive coordinator George Edwards for just two seasons. In both of those seasons however, Lavar Arrington was selected for the Pro Bowl and had his most productive NFL year. With all the talent that was on Washington's defense in 2002 and 2003, Edwards' ability to help Arrington excel is something that will never be lost on the former linebacker. It's why Arrington feels his young protégé Aaron Maybin could also be in position to succeed sooner rather than later.
"The unique characteristic of George Edwards is he understands how to reach his players," Arrington told Buffalobills.com. "He's able to form relationships and garner the trust of the guys that he's coaching. I'd go to the end of the earth for George Edwards. I enjoyed playing for him."
Arrington believes Buffalo's defenders will soon feel much the same way. Knowing Edwards intends to initially install a 3-4 defensive scheme, he realizes that Maybin's position will change. But he's not convinced it will be a full-time move to linebacker.
"I just think that the way that George Edwards can coach and identify players' strengths and weaknesses that he'll have enough time to work with Aaron," said Arrington. "Hopefully Aaron will be able to pick it up and know what it is that George is putting on his plate and help him transition to being a 'tweener' in terms of being a defensive end and an outside linebacker. Aaron needs to know how to be versatile either way. I think George will be able to show him and teach him and put him in a position where he can be successful."
Edwards used Arrington in much the same way during his time in Washington, though it was in a 4-3 system. Arrington was used as a defensive end in a pass rushing role, but in base defense he was utilized in his familiar linebacker position. He foresees a similar scenario for Maybin, provided the young pass rusher is ready to embrace a multi-faceted role.
"A 3-4 outside linebacker is a defensive end-slash-linebacker," said Arrington. "I think any time you have a talented guy that has athletic ability like Aaron it's going to take Aaron being open and driven enough to learn the position and learn how to adapt to the different things it takes to be a 3-4 linebacker.
"It's going to take a coach that can identify what he's capable of doing. If all of those things materialize then the sky is the limit for this kid. It's just a matter of whether they can create opportunities for him and George has proven he can do that in the past."
Arrington believes it's important for Edwards to identify Maybin's role in the scheme so he can fully commit to it. He's confident Buffalo's defensive coordinator will follow through.
"You put that responsibility on him. If he's not successful once you put him in a position to succeed then it's time to point to Aaron Maybin as to why he's not being productive," said Arrington. "That wasn't the case last year. Obviously George Edwards will be aware enough to know what Aaron is strong at doing and he'll take full advantage of that."