No matter what the front, Haslett's defense will emphasize forcing turnovers
While much of the offseason focus has centered on the Redskins' use of a 3-4 defensive scheme, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said the team will utilize multiple fronts and the defense's emphasis will be on forcing turnovers.
"We're trying to get more, whether it's interceptions, whether it's fumbles, strips, different ways to get them," Haslett said Sunday after the last practice of the team's three-day minicamp. "And the other thing we want to get, we want to score some touchdowns to help the offense."
The emphasis on forcing turnovers comes after a 2009 season in which the Redskins forced 17 fumbles but only recovered six, which tied for second to last in the NFL. The defense had only 11 interceptions, which ranked 26th in the league.
Haslett has brought a 3-4 scheme that he was familiar with while serving as the defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh. He led top-15 defenses in each of his three years with the Steelers from 1997 to 1999.
On Sunday, in his first media appearance since joining the team in January, Haslett emphasized there would be various looks. He said it would not just be a 3-4 scheme, but that base would enable the Redskins to get creative in using a player like linebacker Brian Orakpo, who played defensive end at the University of Texas. Haslett said he intended to use Orakpo to rush the passer more frequently in 2010.
"It gives you some flexibility to do a number of different things," Haslett said, adding, "I just think it's hard to figure out offensively where people are coming from."
Haslett said he believes the Redskins have the athletes to fit his defensive vision, especially when it comes to generating offense out of the defense through turnovers.
For example, Haslett said Orakpo needed to focus on forcing and recovering fumbles when he gets to the quarterback, as opposed to simply just getting sacks and causing backfield disruption. Haslett also said he thought the Redskins have the potential for a ballhawking secondary and that "the back end has a chance to be pretty special."
The Redskins have been installing pieces of the 3-4 throughout the offseason. Haslett said two players not in attendance at minicamp, tackle Albert Haynesworth and linebacker Rocky McIntosh, would be behind in learning the new defense.
"They've got a lot to learn," Haslett said. "There's a lot more to this defense - there's a lot of things. The longer you stay away, you've got a lot of catching up to do. Being around the guys that are here and knowing how conscientious they are, I think they'll be fine once we get them here and get them up to speed. I don't think it will be a big learning process."
Haynesworth is frustrated about the Redskins' plans to use him as a nose tackle in their new defense. Haslett said he has spoken with Haynesworth and that the player would be used in a variety of roles on the front within the scheme, not just nose tackle.
"They understand we'd love to have them here, but that's not happening right now," Haslett said of Haynesworth and McIntosh. "That's out of my control."
Mike Shanahan is stressing D, as in discipline and double parking. Dan Steinberg writes on the D.C. Sports Bog that his idea of team-first orderliness extends to where players stand and even how they proceed to and from the field.
April 18, 2010; 4:40 PM ET
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