An Early Look at the 2011 Redskins: The Defense

An Early Look at the 2011 Redskins: The Defense
November 9, 2010, 6:21 pm
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010 1:30 PM

By Rich Tandler
Redskins Blogger

With a new coach in Mike Shanahan and a new general manager in Bruce Allen, the Washington Redskins are a team in transition. There was significant roster turnover from 2009 to this year and more is expected going into next season. While its still relatively early in the season, the 2011 fates of many starters and key contributors are starting to crystallize. While nothing is final just yet with just half of the season gone we have enough of a body of work to make some educated guesses at who may be staying and who may be going. On Monday and Tuesday, Ill look at the starters and key contributors for the Redskins and assess which of them are like to remain in the same capacity in 2011 and which players might be looking at a change in their rolesor even scenerynext year. After examining the offense on Monday, today we take a look at the defense. (Note: Contract status for 2011 is in parentheses. Status is subject to change pending the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement.) Defensive line In the plans DE Albert Haynesworth (signed)This is far from certain as just when things seem to be going well between Haynesworth and Shanahan things again spin out of control. But if he continues to be the force on defense that he has been since the Eagles game, even if it is only in certain situational packages, it will be well worth the 5.4 million he is slated to make next year. But, again, all things regarding Albert are subject to change at a moments notice. DE Adam Carriker (signed)Carriker is back at home in the 3-4 defense and the Redskins likely will want to keep him at end for the next several years, at least. He will be on the last year of his rookie deal, signed in 2007 and he will make 1.42 million. DE Kedric Golston (unrestricted free agent)Like Carriker, Golston has been the ideal 3-4 defensive end, anonymous during the game but effective. He will be a free agent but look for the Redskins to extend him a reasonable offer. Change of role NT Maake Kemoeatu (signed)Kemo doesnt appear to be the same player that he was prior to tearing his Achilles tendon in training camp with the Panthers in 2000. With the nose tackle being such an important position in the 3-4, the Redskins likely will look for new talent here and move Kemoeatu, who will be working on the second year of a two year, incentive-laden contract, into a reserve role. Change of scenery DE Phillip DanielsAt age 39, Daniels wont be back for his 15th NFL season in 2011. Or maybe he will. Hes due to make 1 million next year, he doesnt play special teams, and his last very good season was in 2005. But he can still stop the run, he plays hurt (he tore his biceps in early October last year and he didnt miss a practice, never mind a game), and is a locker room leader and great example for younger players. My guess is that if they can go younger and cheaper they will but they wont take a big drop off from Daniels play to do so. DE Andre CarterYou have to feel for Carter, who had one of his best seasons in 2009 with 11 sacks only to see the position he played essentially get eliminated. After a spin at linebacker, he is back on the defensive line in passing situations. He has just one sack. Carter is due a 4.1 million option bonus next year and it is doubtful that the Redskins would be willing to pay that to a role player who will be 32 before the season starts. Unless he is willing to redo his deal and take a substantial pay cut, he could well be gone. Linebackers In the plans OLB Brian Orakpo (signed)All he needs is consistency to become one of the top, most feared defenders in the NFL. He is in the Redskins plans for years to come. ILB London Fletcher (signed)He struggled some early in the season as he adjusted to needing to take on more blockers in the 3-4 defense, but he is hitting his stride. Fletcher is near his accustomed spot as the team leader in tackles (he trails LaRon Landry 76-72) and has forced two key fumbles. He will be entering the last year of the five-year, 25 million contract he signed when he came to the Redskins in 2007. ILB Rocky McIntosh (unrestricted free agent)McIntosh has adjust well from outside linebacker in the 4-3 to an inside spot in the 3-4. With the contract of cornerback Carlos Rogers also expiring after this year and safety LaRon Landry working on the last year of his rookie deal in 2011, it will be interesting to see how much is left over for McIntosh. Perry Riley, who the Redskins drafted in the fourth round, could be the heir apparent but his action has been very limited because of injuries. The bottom line is that the Redskins are likely to want McIntosh to return but only at the right price. Change of role OLB Lorenzo Alexander (signed)Is Alexander a quality starting outside linebacker? Or is he just doing a decent job that looks better in light of his transition from the defensive line? That will be determined over the course of the last half of the season. The Redskins will have to figure out if he is good enough to be a starter on a playoff team or if he is better suited to a reserve and situational role. In any case, he will be back next year. Defensive backs In the plans CB DeAngelo Hall (signed)Hall is in the second year of a six-year, 55 million contract so he is the most entrenched member of the secondary. He will continue to be in the middle of many big plays, some that work in the Redskins favor and others that are to the teams detriment. That is the nature of being a playmaker. CB Carlos Rogers (unrestricted free agent)I know that he drops a lot of interceptions and that about half of the Redskins fans out there would like to see him gone tomorrow, but you will just have to accept the fact that he is one of the better cornerbacks in the league and that it would be very difficult to replace him. It appears that both sides want to get something done but if another team makes a big offer, Rogers, who will be 30 at the start of the 2011 season, might be tempted to jump. SS LaRon Landry (signed)Technically, Landry has two years left on the six-year, 41.5 million dollar contract he signed as a rookie in 2007. In reality, his contract is up after the 2011 season since the last year is voidable. If Landry makes the Pro Bowl and some All-Pro teams, both of which are likely as of right now, he probably will want more than the 1.6 million he is due to make next year. Keep an eye on this situation. FS Kareem Moore (signed)He has played reasonably well since returning from the knee he injured during the preseason. His rookie contract runs through next season and it would appear that the Redskins will continue with him as their starter. Change of scenery CB Phillip Buchanon (unrestricted free agent)Buchanon has not played horribly as the nickel back this season; in fact he has made a few good plays. But you have to think that they can do better at the nickel back spot, which with all of the three-receiver sets that teams run these days is essentially a starting position. It Join Rich Tandler for an in-game chat from the press box at FedEx Field during the Redskins-Eagles game on Monday night. Things will get underway on shortly before kickoff and continue all game long. You can reach Rich by email at and follow him on Twitter @RealRedskins.