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Posted at 12:22 PM ET, 12/22/2010

"Rough season" for Maake Kemoeatu ends on IR

By Rick Maese

"It's been a rough season," nose tackle Maake Kemoateu said today, neatly summing up the thoughts of many.

Coming off an Achilles injury that kept him out all of 2009, Kemoeatu joined the Redskins last offseason as a bit of an unknown. Though he was able to start in the Redskins first 13 games, the season didn't unfold exactly as he had planned -- and it certainly didn't have the ending that he'd hoped.

Kemoeatu was placed on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday with a shoulder injury. Kemoeatu said he'll meet with a doctor next Monday to determine whether he has a muscle tear and to decide whether he needs surgery.

Either way, Kemoeatu says he "definitely" plans to play football next season.

"Throughout the year, the shoulder was running at 50 percent," he said. "I tried to do the best I could with it. They said it might be torn or whatnot. We'll see what happens next week."

Are concussed players returning to the field too soon? See what our panel thinks in The League

The Redskins took a chance on Kemoeatu and his Achilles. After he missed a full season of football, coaches weren't certain what they'd get out of him, but they knew they needed a lot. In the 3-4 defense, the nose tackle is an integral position, and Kemoeatu, despite being a step slower than he'd prefer, was Washington's best option all season.

"I was a step or two behind. I pushed myself, try to catch myself up again," he said. "Eventually, you hit a wall after missing a year."

But he played through pain through most of the year and the shoulder injury certainly didn't help matters.

"It was very frustrating," he said. "To miss a whole year of football, trying to rehab, trying to get back in shape, before you know it the season starts, right when you think you're about to be in shape, you get another injury -- it's just frustrating sometimes." Kemoeatu won the team's Ed Block Courage Award for coming back from the Achilles injury.

In Kemoeatu's absence, Anthony Bryant will likely see even more snaps at nose tackle. Kedric Golston -- if he's healthy enough to play Sunday at Jacksonville -- could also see some time, and coaches will monitor newly-signed Darrion Scott this week in practice to see if he's ready to step on the field.

"I'm sure that Kedric, Bear and the D-line boys can hold it down," Kemoeatu said.

By Rick Maese  | December 22, 2010; 12:22 PM ET
Categories:  3-4 defense  
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Next: Rex Grossman had Donovan McNabb's support Sunday


And our paper-thin D line just got thinner...

Posted by: edvar | December 22, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't a fan of signing Kemoeatu. Coming off the Achilles injury, I didn't expect him to do much, and he was not a presence on the D-line this year. Nose tackle is yet another piece the Redskins need to address in the offseason.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | December 22, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I agree that changing the base defense is unlikely, but I'll give Shanahan some stats; 2008 Washington 4th overall defense, 2009 Washington 10th overall defense, 2010 Washington 32nd overall defense.

Posted by: Skin4Life1 | December 22, 2010 12:15 PM

Nobody clamored to change the defensive alignment when the D slipped to 30th overall in 2006. Just sayin'...

The alignment isn't the problem...not having the personnel to run it is the problem. They gambled that they could make a smooth transition relying on Carter at OLB, Kemo at NT and Haynesworth to actually, you know, play like he cares. Didn't work out that way. Now you assess your needs and move forward with a plan.

To say that "we should've kept the 4-3" is say the D wasn't broken. We didn't give up a lot of yards last year, but we gave up a helluva lot of 4th quarter leads and very seldom took the ball away or sacked the QB. The D this year has certainly disappointed in most weeks, but they've taken the ball away MUCH more than they ever did under Blache.

Truth be told, there really isn't a good time to change defenses. You make the change and work towards making it work. Shanahan screwed a lot up this year...IMO, switching to the 3-4 wasn't one of 'em.

Posted by: brownwood26 | December 22, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

For those who like to trot out last years top 10 defense, keep in mind that that top 10 D played against one of the easiest schedules in league history.

Easy to compare this year to last, but the strength of schedule both teams faced are night and day.

Keep some perspective peeps.

Posted by: kerzon417 | December 22, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, Brownwood. I think if you go back and look at any team that made the switch to 3-4, it took them some time as well to get the right personnel. Thinking that the Redskins could defy history was unrealistic.

Posted by: smurff1 | December 22, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

in the previous thread, Cork used the term Rabach, as a in we need a NT who can "Rabach" the other teams center...thats good stuff right there...

rabach - verb, to be knocked onto your butt while stepping on the qb's foot.

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 22, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

The Skins also presumably have Mike Williams coming back next year, and Shanny thought enough of him to give him a 2 year deal before the blood clots took him out. And Jammal Brown is a former All-Pro who is either going to be healthier and closer to past form next year or who will probably be gone. If it's the former, he is another piece to the puzzle.

I would guess the Skins draft priorities will be:


Posted by: CommieX | December 22, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse
JBrown has started to play better, as the season has progressed. He turns 30 in 3 months, so as OT he could have 4-6 years remaining. I'm hoping we can resign him this off-season.

Maake turns 32 in a few weeks. Given another off-season to heal, and assuming we can sign him inexpensively, I think we should bring him back also. But having said that, I think NT should be a priority in the draft/FA.

I don't think anyone has heard how BigMike is progressing with his blood clot issues. Probably can't count on him at this point, but he is signed for 2011, so we can keep him in the mix for now.

Posted by: frediefritz | December 22, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: edvar | December 22, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@smurff1 Greenbay was successful doing it. Unsure about others. Buffalo is struggling this year as well though.

Posted by: overzealous08 | December 22, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Check your facts; 2009 tied for 8th in the league with 40 sacks, this year tied for 26th with 25.

Posted by: Skin4Life1 | December 22, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Shanahan erred in attempting to radically change both the offense and the defense at the same time. You can't rebulid the whole damn plane while it's flying. Start with the segments that are the most broken and fix those first. Evolutionize, not revolutionize. Having an offense that couldn't average more than 14 points a game for God knows how many seasons looks a lot more broken to me than a defense that consistently ranked in the top 10.

The 4-3 defense was nowhere near as bad as some of you want to make it out to be. With the exceptionally weak offenses the Skins have fielded for the last 10 seasons, especially under Zorn, the defenses spent WAY too much time on the field. It doesn't take a genius to see why they gave up 4th quarter leads or couldn't get a stop to get the ball back, what with those pitiful offenses perpetually going 3 and out all game long. Gee, even NFL defenders get tired when they only get a 4 play break and it's back to getting pushed up and down the field for most of each game.

On top of all that, did anyone really think we even had 50% of the right personnel in place to play a 3-4 in 2010? No NGs at all, no DTs who ever played a 3-4, and DEs "trying" to masquerade as outside linebackers. Add in the fact that Rocky McIntosh is way undersized to play ILB, and you come up with the 32nd ranked, trainwreck of defense that we now are suffering through.

The offense had been broken for years, especially due to poor personnel management - weak QBs in Brunell and Campbell, complete lack of attention to the OL, combined with incredulous selections at WR - spelled for non-threatening, non-attacking, non-scoring offenses.

Shanahan should have worked primarily on revamping the offense in 2010 and converted to a 3-4 in either 2011 or 2012. The 3-4 has been a misearbly failed experiment this year - the most embarrassing defense the Redskins have fielded in many, many seasons. Those few turnovers that we got early on have all dried up now, but we continue to get gashed week, after week, after week...

Posted by: SkinsKen | December 22, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I honestly feel a little lied to. We knew we were switching to the 3-4 but we were told by the media and coaching staff that we would see a lot of 4 man fronts still. I don't recall seeing too many 4 man fronts this season. We are a few years away from being a good defense again, but honestly we were going to struggle more than we had the last two years on d anyways.... you want to know why? It's a little thing called age and not replenishing your aging talent. We've had this problem on the OL 3 years running, well now its a problem on the D. Regardless if we were in a 4-3 or 3-4 we needed 3 or 4 new starters out there. Then as someone said our schedule was tougher this year so it was just everything. The scheme change didn't help, but regardless this D would have been worse than 08 and 09's no matter what.

Posted by: avbanig | December 22, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

He came to camp fat and overweight and he STILL IS. Part of the problem not the solution...Goodbye

Posted by: frediemac1 | December 22, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Good this guy is backup at best. We need 3 new Dlineman to start, none of our current roster are capable 3-4 dlineman as starter. I dont mind AC and KG as backup but they arent fit to start. This is going to be hard to accomplish but maybe with a bunch of FA we can tag some good ones and draft a playmaker.

Posted by: Stu27 | December 22, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

For all of the talk of how this team neglected the offensive line year after year, they went even longer failing to address the D-line.

Before selecting Brian Orakpo last season, there were no defensive linemen taken by this team in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th rounds since Kenard Lang in 1997. That's 12 years of relying on other teams' castoffs or rookie longshots picked in the 5th round or later.

Somehow, Gregg Williams was able to piece together a solid group of players for 3 years of his tenure in Washington. But fans, and more importantly the professionals who were running the team had to know that strategy wouldn't last long. We are now reaping what 11 years of horrific personnel decision-making has sown.

4-12 folks. That's how good this defense was last year -- 4 and 12. This was never a lights-out, 'shut everyone down in their path' type defense.

But for everyone who thinks this is all Mike Shanahan's fault simply because he wanted to transition to a 3-4, fine. Let's just line up Orakpo, Haynesworth, Golston, and Carter back in the 4-3 and see what happens. If anyone thinks we'll magically transform back into a "top ten defense" just by lining them up differently, you need your logic chips checked.

Posted by: beemnseven | December 22, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

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