Washington Redskins nose tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu says that his surgically repaired left shoulder and right Achilles’ tendon “feel great,” and that he is expecting to play significantly better this season than he did in 2010.
Kemoeatu signed with Washington during the last offseason while coming back from surgery to repair his Achilles’ tendon, an injury that kept him sidelined for all of 2009. He started 12 of the 14 games he appeared in, but missed the final two with a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
The ninth-year veteran admittedly struggled last season as he tried to work his way back into football shape. Then the shoulder injury limited his range of motion and further hindered his ability to get much penetration off the line. The shoulder injury required season-ending surgery.
Kemoeatu attended both workouts organized by Redskins’ players this week because of the NFL lockout and wasn’t limited in his movements.
“I feel great. Just gained probably a couple pounds in the offseason, which comes with the territory, but I’m just getting back into shape and getting back in there,” said the 6-foot-5 Kemoeatu, who last season played at 350 pounds. “I don’t have a contract after this season so this might be my last. Who knows. I just want to keep working, get prepared and look forward to the season.”
With Kemoeatu limited physically, Albert Haynesworth unwilling to play nose tackle, and Anthony Bryant relatively inexperienced, the Redskins lacked a strong anchor for the defensive line in their 3-4 scheme. As a result, the defense gave up 4.7 rushing yards per carry (seventh-worst in the NFL last season).
Kemoeatu said he expects to be part of the solution to the problem this season.
“It’ll be a lot better as far as the defense, as far as physically, myself,” he said. “With an Achilles’ injury it takes about two years to come back and this is my second year. … I know as a defense we learned a lot about what we installed last year, so now, it’s like knowing the defense, we’ll be a lot better going the second time around. Nose tackle is a key position, and me and Bryant will hold that position down and look forward to training camp and look forward to an outstanding season.”