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In 2011, will Redskins need defensive substitutions?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011; 11:51 PM

A look at who started for the Redskins in Week 1 of this past season, and who might man those positions next season:

LEFT DEFENSIVE END

Adam Carriker: A first-round bust with St. Louis, Carriker revived his career after his trade to the Redskins in April. He played his best in the final two games. If the Redskins fail to sign someone more talented, Carriker could fill the role adequately.

Possible 2011 starter: Carriker.

NOSE TACKLE

Maake Kemoeatu: The hard-working Kemoeatu impressed coaches while rehabbing from an Achilles' tendon injury that sidelined him for the entire 2009 season. But he rarely displayed his pre-injury form and ended the season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Nose tackle is the most important position in the 3-4, and the Redskins need an impact player there.

Possible 2011 starter: Unknown.

RIGHT DEFENSIVE END

Kedric Golston: If the dependable Golston is a backup, you've got a very good 3-4 defense. Unfortunately for the Redskins, Golston started the first 13 games. He is scheduled to undergo hernia surgery and is likely to be a free agent.

Possible 2011 starter: Unknown.

LEFT OUTSIDE LINEBACKER

Andre Carter: It was clear that the successful 4-3 defensive end was a bad fit as a linebacker in the 3-4. The Redskins must pay Carter a $4.075 million bonus this offseason to retain his rights. Carter should plan on becoming a free agent.

Possible 2011 starter: Unknown.

LEFT INSIDE LINEBACKER

London Fletcher: Coach Mike Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett rely on Fletcher on the field and in the locker room, and he just continues to deliver. With a full year in the scheme, the 13-year veteran should be even better next season.

Possible 2011 starter: Fletcher.

RIGHT INSIDE LINEBACKER

Rocky McIntosh: Frustrated about his contract situation, McIntosh stayed away from the complex for much of last offseason and was behind when he finally reported. Haslett said he often had things to "clean up" in his performance. McIntosh is likely to be a free agent.

Possible 2011 starter: Not currently on roster.

RIGHT OUTSIDE LINEBACKER

Brian Orakpo: He was one of the few players on the roster suited to the scheme change and again was a force on the edge. He's a cornerstone of the future.

Possible 2011 starter: Orakpo.

LEFT CORNERBACK

DeAngelo Hall: Hall tied the NFL single-game record with four interceptions in Week 7 against the Chicago Bears, scored two defensive touchdowns for the first time in his career and was selected to his third Pro Bowl. He also gambles and gets burned for long TD passes.

Possible 2011 starter: Hall.

RIGHT CORNERBACK

Carlos Rogers: It appeared Rogers, likely to be a free agent, was on track to return next season, but he missed four of the last eight games with hamstring and calf injuries, prompting some concern about his commitment.

Possible 2011 starter: Unknown.

STRONG SAFETY

LaRon Landry: In only nine games, "Dirty 30" had the best year of his career. Finally in a system ideally suited for him, Landry was an impact player from the outset. He finished the season on injured reserve because of an Achilles' tendon injury, but could be even better next year.

Possible 2011 starter: Landry.

FREE SAFETY

Reed Doughty: After suffering a knee injury in the preseason, Kareem Moore underwent surgery, missed the first two games of the regular season and was replaced by Doughty. Moore earned the respect of his coaches and teammates by playing in 12 games, including 11 starts, despite knee pain. But Moore, who ended the season on injured reserve, and Doughty are better suited as backups.

Possible 2011 starter: Unknown.

PLACE KICKER

Graham Gano: Young, strong-legged kicker experienced growing pains in his first full season, missing 11 field goal attempts. The Redskins plan to bring in kickers to challenge Gano in the offseason.

Possible 2011 starter: Gano.

PUNTER

Josh Bidwell: Was assigned to injured reserve Oct. 7 because of lingering hip pain. The team then re-signed Hunter Smith, who was released after he botched a critical extra point hold in a Week 14 loss. Sam Paulescu filled in for the final few games.

Possible 2011 starter: Unknown.

RETURN SPECIALISTS

Devin Thomas and Phillip Buchanon: Thomas, the team's top draft pick in 2008, was released Oct. 9. Buchanon was ineffective on punt returns in the first three games. Rookie Brandon Banks could be a dynamic return specialist for many years, but he wasn't the same after rushing back from knee surgery.

Possible 2011 starter: Banks.

- Jason Reid

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