Lorenzo Alexander starts at outside linebacker for the Washington Redskins, in place of Andre Carter

By Jason Reid and Paul Tenorio
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, October 4, 2010; 12:38 AM

PHILADELPHIA - Andre Carter appeared to be a bad fit for Washington's new 3-4 defensive scheme this season, and it looks like the team acknowledged as much after three games.

Before Sunday's game against Philadelphia, the Redskins announced that Lorenzo Alexander would start at outside linebacker opposite Brian Orakpo.

Carter, at his best as a hand-down end, has struggled to become comfortable as a stand-up player who must drop into coverage.

The Redskins planned for Alexander to have a limited role on defense as a backup because of his heavy special teams workload. Alexander, however, has outperformed Carter to this point, and with the Redskins last in the NFL in defense, coordinator Jim Haslett decided to make a move.

"I think that's a guy that deserves an opportunity to play just because of what you see on the film," Haslett said Friday at Redskins Park. "He has done a good job when we put him in there and he'll have more and more of a chance when we go along."

In three games, Carter has been credited with 10 tackles, including five unassisted. He has no sacks. During the best season of his career in 2009, Carter shared the team lead with 11 sacks.

Carter's stats in his only other year as an outside linebacker, with San Francisco, were solid: 58 tackles and 41/2 sacks. But Carter was uncomfortable standing up and lacked the natural instincts to drop into pass coverage, people familiar with his performance said.

Offensive line changes

Injuries and illness forced more changes on the Redskins' offensive line in Washington's 17-12 win over the Eagles.

Rookie left tackle Trent Williams was inactive for a second consecutive game because of his injured toe. Starting right guard Artis Hicks left the game due to an undisclosed illness and was replaced by Will Montgomery, and Kory Lichtensteiger again started over Derrick Dockery.

Williams said he tested the toe before the game but "it wasn't all the way." The rookie said he hopes to be ready to play next week when the Redskins host the Green Bay Packers.

The first-round draft pick was replaced in the lineup by Stephon Heyer, who managed well in his matchup with Eagles Pro Bowl defensive end Trent Cole, but was flagged for a crucial false start late in the game as the Redskins were trying to run out the clock. Heyer also was whistled for another false start and a holding penalty.

Banks contributes

It had been an up-and-down week emotionally for wide receiver Brandon Banks.

Washington released the diminutive rookie last Saturday to make room for running back Ryan Torain on the roster. Then the team re-signed the undrafted free agent to its practice squad early in the week and had him mimic Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson on the scout teams.

On Saturday, Banks was signed to the active roster and Sunday he played a role in the win.

He returned a punt 53 yards in the first quarter to set up a touchdown drive and factored in the offense later in the half.

"Of course I was a little disappointed when I got released, but when I got the phone call that . . . I would come back and [I] knew I was going to play, I mean, I felt good," Banks said. "I was just focusing on learning plays and trying to get better every day and came out here and did good."

reidj@washpost.com tenoriop@washpost.com

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