After 13 weeks on the Washington Redskins’ practice squad, nose tackle Chris Baker finally received the news he had waited for Tuesday, when team officials decided to promote him to the 53-man roster.
“It’s a great opportunity. There’s still a lot of season left,” the 6-foot-2, 329-pound Hampton University product said Wednesday. “I’ve always believed in myself that I had the ability and now the coaches are giving me a lot of opportunity and I’m going to go out there and take advantage of it.”
Baker believes that although he hasn’t played a game for the Redskins, he has improved since he signed with the team. When he first joined the team, he was working his way back from injury, and since then, he has spent his time soaking up the nuances of his positional role in the Redskins’ defense.
“I feel very comfortable,” said Baker, who will work for playing time behind Barry Cofield and Chris Neild. “I’m built to play the nose. I have the ability to play the run well and actually pass rush pretty well, too. I can do it all. I thank God that the Redskins said, ‘Hey lets give this kid a shot,’ and I’m determined to take advantage of it.”
Meantime, offensive tackle Cole Pemberton, whom Washington signed to the practice squad to fill Baker’s spot, said he hopes his familiarity with the Redskins’ blocking schemes helps him stick with the team.
Pemberton spent time with the Houston Texans in 2010, and with Gary Kubiak being a longtime former Mike Shanahan assistant, he said Washington’s system is very similar.
“It helps a lot,” the 6-foot-7, 306-pound Pemberton said. “Some of the plays and even terminology, pretty similar, so it’s a lot of transition. It’s not like I’m starting from ground zero.”
Pemberton said since being cut by Houston in September, he had spent his time training on his own in Kansas City, waiting for a call that finally came this week.
“I got a call on Monday from my agent and from the Redskins organization and I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “It was pretty much the only option, so I was lucky to have it.”
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