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Chris Baker's Versatile Mindset Increases Playing Time

Washington Redskins defensive lineman Chris Baker believes his team's defensive unit has the capability to be one of the premier units in the NFL.

In order for that to happen, though, Baker said the communication process from the coaches to the huddle and then between the players on pre-snap reads must improve.

A countdown of the top-10 images of defensive lineman Chris Baker during the 2014 season.

"There was always a few situations in the game where we lost some type of communication and someone was open in the running lane or somebody didn't cover the person who they were supposed to cover," he told the media last week. "But each year you're going to deal with injuries, so you just have to be a professional and be on top of your game each week and be able to prepare like a pro."

Baker, from an individual standpoint, had his best season to date.

The Hampton product appeared in 15 games with 12 starts, recording a career-high 55 tackles with 14 quarterback hits and three tackles for a loss.

Against the St. Louis Rams, Baker also logged his second-career sack, taking down Shaun Hill early in the third quarter.

While Baker said he was pleased with his increase in production, he said the performance of the team remains his No. 1 priority.

"It's been frustrating, but it's been a learning experience," Baker said of the last two seasons. "[It's] something we can learn from and know what we have to do during this offseason and what we have to fix and correct and come back next year and put a lot better performance out there on the field."

At times in 2014, Baker was used at defensive end, but also spent time at nose tackle, depending on what the rotation called for during situations.

While he is "comfortable at both positions," Baker said he prefers to play nose tackle if asked to play there.

"I've always had this mindset of there's nothing that I can't do," he said. "If they need to start at end, I can play end. If they need me to start at nose, I can play nose, but right now I'll be penciling myself in as the nose tackle next year if I had to do it."

Ultimately, though, he understands that the coaches will make the decisions as to where he should play, and he'll train hard during the offseason to make sure he comes into the 2015 season healthy, strong and ready to go.

"I let the coaches decide what players they need to bring in or what positions need more help," he said. "All I can do is training myself as an athlete and come back in the best shape possible to come back and help this team win by any means necessary. …The coaches will make those decisions as far as what positions need help."




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