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Another Day in Which the Defense Rules

The dominance of the defensive line early in camp continued today in 11-on-11 drills at Redskins Park.

As we've discussed since camp opened, the defense has been way ahead of the offense, and much of that has to do with the disparity in line play. The addition of all-pro defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, the return of end/tackle Phillip Daniels and the arrival of rookie end/linebacker Brian Orakpo have made a difference.

It appears guards Randy Thomas and Derrick Dockery are not having much fun battling Haynesworth. Daniels was one of the league's best run-stuffers before he suffered a season-ending knee injury on the first day of camp last season, and he still is difficult to move. As for Orakpo, he is receiving rave reviews from teammates for his impressive pass-rushing skills. Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels complimented Orakpo today after he made several nice moves against him, teammates said.

"He stays low, he's got the quickness, he's got the youth, he's doing real well," end Andre Carter said. "Chris gave him a little compliment and everything, so he's going to be all right."

Defensive coordinator Greg Blache has experimented with different alignments in an effort to put the Skins' most productive pass rushers on the field together. Carter rarely lined up at left end last season, but he occasionally moved to that spot today in a front-four lineup that included Daniels and Haynesworth at tackle and Orakpo at right end.

"The reason why they put me on the left is, if I was with Haynesworth all the time, the [offensive] line would just focus on that," Carter said. "Let's spread it out a little bit and make it more interesting."

Because of the Skins' talent level across the defensive front, Coach Jim Zorn is not overly concerned that the first-team offensive line has not fared well yet. And defensive line depth should be among the team's strengths, Zorn said, with Blache also able to choose among defensive tackles Cornelius Griffin, Kedric Golston, Anthony Montgomery, end/tackle Lorenzo Alexander and end Renaldo Wynn for a rotation.

"We're going to get the ball back a little bit more, I can tell you that right now," Zorn said. "They're very good. They're teaching our line what it is to have to react, have great position and then stop that momentum. We're struggling with those things.

"And I wouldn't take anything away from Griff and Phil Daniels. You got Golston, you got Lorenzo doing better [and] we've got Renaldo. We have a good pool of defensive lineman. If there's any sign of getting tired, I don't need to feel bad about splitting that group up."

By Jason Reid  |  August 2, 2009; 12:13 PM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid  
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Next: Zorn: 'Some Things Good, Some Very Poor'

Comments

O-Line is FIRST among the things that worry me.

Posted by: skins1110 | August 2, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

bright side view: if our d-line is vastly improved and among the elites than practicing against them should be great experience for oline and they will surge in games while playing lesser lines....

Posted by: chrislarry | August 2, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I think the team has to be careful about making excuses for the offensive line. If the defensive line is that more dominant, how will our offensive line fare against other dominant defensive lines? The team's position on this should be "the offensive line is not playing as well as we want it to" and leave it at that. Set the bar high. Meanwhile, I don't think it is too early to be scouring the free agent and trade market to get another offensive lineman in the mix - especially a pure tackle.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | August 2, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

yeah skinshead...i concur....

Posted by: chrislarry | August 2, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

O-Line is FIRST among the things that worry me.

Posted by: skins1110 |

And close up their behind...er let me rephrase that...in a close second place is the lack of depth at CB...

Posted by: TheCork | August 2, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I think the team has to be careful about making excuses for the offensive line. If the defensive line is that more dominant, how will our offensive line fare against other dominant defensive lines? The team's position on this should be "the offensive line is not playing as well as we want it to" and leave it at that. Set the bar high. Meanwhile, I don't think it is too early to be scouring the free agent and trade market to get another offensive lineman in the mix - especially a pure tackle.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | August 2, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

yeah skinshead...i concur....

Posted by: chrislarry | August 2, 2009 12:37 PM


BS.

Last year we "scoured the free agent and trade market" on the first day of camp and came up with Jason Taylor. Now, on the fourth day of camp we should give up?

Anyway, there are three possibilities:
(1) O Line beats the D Line consistently.
(2) D Line beats the O line consistently.
(3) O line and D line equally matched.

You whiners would whine about any of these possibilities.
(1) "The D line needs help. Let's trade."
(2) "The O line needs help. Let's trade."
(3) "Both lines need help. Let's trade."

This is the fourth day of pre-season. You guys are pre-mature in your judgements. Let's see how they play against another team in a preseason game before hitting the panic button.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | August 2, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Because of the Skins' talent level across the defensive front, Coach Jim Zorn is not overly concerned that the first-team offensive line has not fared well yet."--RI's DUH MAYOR

Well he sure as hell ought to be. Weren't we reading glowing reports about how these Oline guys had been throwing truck tires around in Arizona, were better conditioned, had converted fat to muscle and were ready to go?

Redskins.com could not have painted a more optimistic picture of the mess that is the collection of aging, broken down and inadequate stiffs that appear to make up the Redskins Oline this year, again.

It's times like this I miss JLC's ingrained cynicism.

Yes the Dline looks like monsters, but the redskins did NOT make a serious attempt to upgrade the mediocre OLINE that played last season. And claiming it's cruddy performance is solely due to the Defensive line is--to borrow an expression from politics--"putting lipstick on a pig" when what's needed is young new Hogs.

Posted by: TheCork | August 2, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Let's keep this in perspective...

Our D-line is the deepest and arguably the most powerful in the NFL.

They will dominate everyone this year.

Our O-line will be better against the rest of the league.

so if you hear Zorn say that the O-line is holding their own....you will know that they are ready for the season

Posted by: skinsbacker | August 2, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

It's times like this I miss JLC's ingrained cynicism.

Posted by: TheCork | August 2, 2009 12:49 PM

Yeah, I miss those snide comments he fabricated from players' agents, "league sources," "talent evaluators," etc.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | August 2, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Like several folks have said, it's way, way too early to be drawing conclusions about the offensive line. They were relatively weak in terms of pass blocking last year, and at this early juncture, that's still the case.

It'd be true even if they'd spent their first round draft choice on Michael Oher, or outbid Philadelphia for Jason Peters.

On the other hand, it's a good run-blocking unit, and Derrick Dockery can only strengthen that.

Posted by: Samson151 | August 2, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

beep...beep...

Posted by: scampbell1975 | August 2, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

It is not too early to draw conclusions about our O-Line. We need more youth, speed, and strength at that position. I fear the worst for this offense just because it's a battle of the trenches. To be like, oh I'm not worried our D-line is just that good is a garbage thought because we play the giants, eagles, and dallas twice, all which have good dlinemen. We are 4th in this division at best not because of our qb or our receivers, but because of our oline, which this front office has refused to upgrade!

Posted by: BMACattack | August 2, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Folks this is a good thing. The O-line is learning (and being humbled) by a quality opponent before the games start to count. These spirited practices will also show the coaches who can play and who cannot.

You gotta figure that if the O-line can train against an elite D-line every week they have no choice but to either get better or at least determine who can or cannot play at the highest level.

Newspapers have to report something everything to justify a paycheck but as long as the injury bug stays away the O-line will be much improved when the season starts because of these practices.

Posted by: A-Contrario | August 2, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

If you knew ANYTHING about football, you'd know that the defense is ALWAYS ahead of the offense when practice is just beginning.... CLOWN!!!

Posted by: cf42000 | August 3, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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