RICHMOND—Can Chris Baker take the next step?
In 2011 ago he joined his third NFL team in three years when the signed on to the Redskins’ practice squad. From there he has moved up to a little-used reserve to a key role player to a starter. Baker knows that he can’t let up.
“I’m given an opportunity to start and I don’t want to let the opportunity slip through my hands so I’ve got to continue to do what I did to get the starting position,” he said.
The Redskins are counting on Baker continuing to improve. This offseason they signed him to a three-year, $9 million contract with nearly $4 million of it guaranteed. Baker could earn an additional $3 million in incentives over the life of the deal. That’s not huge money but it is starter’s money. It’s a substantial investment in a player who has career totals of 16 tackles and one sack.
The coaches this year are big on teaching details and Baker knows that he needs to incorporate those into what he does on the field. Fortunately, those finer points are drilled into the players.
“Since you practice it so much it just becomes second nature,” he said. “When our coach is yelling at us to get our hands down the middle of an offensive lineman when you get in a game it just happens because you’re so used to doing it in practice and repeating it over and over.”
Baker doesn’t have to make a Pro Bowl or anything to justify his contract but he does need to make some impact plays. We will see how it turns out.