The Starters: Defense


left end
Adam Carriker
ht. wt. age year college
6-6 311 26 4th Nebraska
Carriker, sidelined the entire 2007 season by a shoulder injury, did not succeed with the St. Louis Rams after they selected him 13th overall in the 2007 draft. But defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, who also coached Carriker with the Rams, believes he is a good fit for the team's new 3-4 scheme. Washington is counting on Carriker, who is familiar with Haslett's philosophy, to provide stability up front early in the season while others continue to learn the defense. Carriker is counting on a career turnaround.
nose tackle
Ma'ake Kemoeatu
ht. wt. age year college
6-5 364 31 9th Utah
Nose tackle is the most important position in the 3-4, and Kemoeatu understands his role. Kemoeatu was a longtime steady performer at the position until he missed the 2009 season with an Achilles' injury. He impressed the coaching staff with his tireless approach in rehab and apparently is fully recovered. Kemoeatu's impact will not be measured in tackles and sacks. His job is to occupy multiple blockers and help free inside linebackers London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh to make plays.
Right end
Kedric Golston
ht. wt. age year college
6-4 300 27 5th Georgia
This was supposed to be the spot reserved for Albert Haynesworth. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett wanted Haynesworth here even after the two-time all-pro selection skipped all but one day of the offseason program and mandatory minicamp. But Haynesworth failed to display the commitment to the new scheme that Coach Mike Shanahan expected, so the steady Golston opens the season with the job. The five-year veteran has started 31 games, including six last season, for Washington. Golston isn't as talented as Haynesworth, but the Redskins are confident in him.
outside linebacker
Andre Carter
ht. wt. age year college
6-4 257 31 10th California
Carter is coming off the best season of his nine-year career. In addition to ranking seventh in the league with 11 sacks, Carter was fourth among NFL linemen in tackles, third in tackles for a loss and sixth in forced fumbles. He also played the most snaps among Redskins defensive linemen. But the hard-working Carter is switching from right end to linebacker in the new scheme, and it is unclear how he will fare in that role. Although he struggled as an outside linebacker for one season with the San Francisco 49ers, Carter is optimistic about the Redskins' scheme.
outside linebacker
Brian Orakpo
ht. wt. age year college
6-4 255 24 2nd Texas
He could be on the road to stardom after being selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie last season. Orakpo was the first Washington rookie defensive player and only the team's sixth linebacker to play in the Pro Bowl since 1970. He had a major impact with 11 sacks and could emerge as an all-pro this season in defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's aggressive 3-4 scheme. Orakpo struggled in coverage at times as a rookie while he made the transition from an end in college. If Orakpo is improved in coverage, he could be scary.
inside linebacker
London Fletcher
ht. wt. age year college
5-10 245 35 13th John Carroll
The leader of the defense, Fletcher was a first-time Pro Bowl selection last season in his 12th year in the NFL. He is a sure tackler and a coach on the field. His knowledge of opposing offenses, work ethic and dedication to his teammates is second to none among Redskins defensive players. Coach Mike Shanahan is a big fan. Fletcher's steady approach is exactly what the Redskins have needed during recent difficult times. Wisely, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett will lean on Fletcher.
inside linebacker
Rocky McIntosh
ht. wt. age year college
6-2 239 27 5th Miami
It was a rough offseason for McIntosh, who stayed away from Redskins Park to protest his contract situation. He hoped for a long-term extension after his strong play during 2009, but the Redskins gave him only a one-year contract under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. McIntosh caught up quickly when he finally rejoined the team and could receive a big, multi-year offer from the Redskins or another team if he has another good season. He definitely has the tools to make it happen.
Carlos Rogers
ht. wt. age year college
6-0 189 29 6th Auburn
Rogers often said he wanted out of Washington after experiencing years of chaos under the former regime. He hoped the team would simply let him walk away and become a free agent, and expressed frustration when the Redskins retained his rights with a one-year contract offer. Rogers, however, got his head together after a one-on-one session with Coach Mike Shanahan and appears poised for a big season. Rogers will be used in a variety of ways in the new defense -- including in the slot and on corner blitzes -- and along with Hall could form a top-notch tandem.
DeAngelo Hall
ht. wt. age year college
5-10 192 26 7th Virginia Tech
Washington's top playmaker on defense, Hall has assumed more leadership this season. He accepted Coach Mike Shanahan's challenge to set the tone in the secondary and played a key role in helping persuade cornerback Carlos Rogers and safety LaRon Landry to buy into Shanahan's plan for the organization. Hall, who breaks on the ball as well as any corner in the league, should thrive in the new 3-4 scheme because he will have more time to read quarterbacks while in zone coverage. Don't be surprised if Hall doubles last season's total of four interceptions.
free safety
Kareem Moore
ht. wt. age year college
5-11 217 26 3rd Nicholls State
The third-year player was the star of training camp on defense. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett raved about Moore's deep-ball skills and it quickly became clear the Redskins would finally be able to move LaRon Landry back to strong safety because Moore was ready to join the starting lineup. But Moore suffered a knee injury during the second preseason game, underwent arthroscopic surgery and may be sidelined early in the season. Veteran safety Reed Doughty is a competent fill-in, but Moore stirs excitement when he's on the field.
strong safety
LaRon Landry
ht. wt. age year college
6-0 217 25 4th LSU
This could be the breakout season for "Dirty 30." Finally back at the position for which he was drafted, Landry has been set free to make plays in defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's scheme. Landry was uncomfortable far away from the action the past two seasons while playing free safety. He will move around a lot in an effort to confuse quarterbacks and offensive coordinators. Landry may appear to line up as a free safety in some alignments but he's definitely the Redskins' strong safety. Haslett's defense and Landry's skills could be an ideal fit.
Josh Bidwell
ht. wt. age year college
6-3 228 34 12th Oregon
Bidwell was one of the league's most consistent punters from 2000 to '08 with Tampa Bay and Green Bay. But he missed all of the 2009 season with a hip injury. He signed with the Redskins as a free agent in March, and coaches have been pleased with his punts in the preseason.

Special teams: Long snapper Nick Sundberg (6-0, 246), kick returner Devin Thomas (6-2, 223), punt returner Phillip Buchanon (5-11, 186).

Coaches: Mike Shanahan, executive vice president-head coach; Kyle Shanahan, offensive coordinator; Jim Haslett, defensive coordinator; Bobby Turner, assistant head coach-running backs; Danny Smith, special teams coordinator; Matt LaFleur, quarterbacks; Chris Foerster, offensive line; Keenan McCardell, wide receivers; Jon Embree, tight ends; Jacob Burney, defensive line; Lou Spanos, linebackers; Bob Slowik, defensive backs; Steve Jackson, safeties; Ray Wright, head strength and conditioning.

-- Jason Reid
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