Carlos Rogers buys into the Mike Shanahan plan
Wednesday, August 18, 2010; 12:00 AM
As the ball caromed high off the receiver's shoulder pads, cornerback Carlos Rogers decided to have some fun. Rogers ended his break during practice the other day and joined in the play, sprinting from the sideline to grab the ball and run toward the end zone, smiling as teammates and fans applauded and laughed at Redskins Park.
"You know, seeing him out there like that and having a good time, he's definitely come a long way," cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "Obviously, there was a lot of stuff that happened in the offseason. Carlos definitely wasn't happy about the whole contract situation, but Coach [Mike] Shanahan talked to him and that meant a lot. He's here and he's all in because of Coach Shanahan. That's the truth."
Rogers made a major turnaround after initially expressing anger about not receiving a multi-year contract offer from the Redskins. Coaches have praised the talented former first-round pick for his knowledge and work ethic, and they envision him performing several important functions in Washington's new 3-4 scheme.
Rogers, who has started 56 games for the Redskins, will be a starter again in his familiar outside position, but will also be used as a nickel corner, in the slot for the first time in his career. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett also has included Rogers in blitz packages.
Among the most vocal critics of Redskins former management, Rogers believes the team finally is doing things the right way. And all it took was the arrival of a Super Bowl-winning coach to run a franchise in dire need of new direction.
"Man, I'm doing great," Rogers said, his face still creased by a wide grin as he walked to the locker room. "It's good now. It's real good. It's just like Coach Shanahan told me it would be. Everybody knows how I felt back then [in March] about not getting one [a long-term deal], but I talked to Coach Shanahan. And when he tells you something, you know you're getting it from the man in charge."
Rogers became a restricted free agent during the offseason under the terms of the uncapped 2010 season in the collective bargaining agreement. The Redskins retained his rights with a non-guaranteed qualifying tender offer of $1.542 million.
The four-year starter, among 200 players who would have been unrestricted free agents during a capped season, hoped the Redskins would simply let him walk away. His resentment toward the organization, for a variety of reasons, had continued to grow since Washington selected him ninth overall in the 2005 draft.
Things became so bad during last season's 4-12 debacle that Rogers openly spoke of his desire to play elsewhere this season, which on at least one occasion prompted a member of the team's public relations staff to cut off a group interview and escort him from the locker room. So Rogers was displeased, to say the least, when the Redskins made him a one-year offer.
"We talked a lot about how the situation with it [the CBA] was making it hard on guys in our position, but there was really nothing you could do," said Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell, Rogers's teammate with the Redskins and in college at Auburn.
"And he also had his feelings about the team, which had been building up. So it was a lot for him."
Shanahan, meanwhile, was still trying to settle into his new post in Ashburn. Officially hired on Jan. 6, Shanahan took the reins of a team that has failed to reach the postseason in eight of 11 seasons under owner Daniel Snyder and has won only two playoff games.