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."
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