The way Demetric Evans sees it, any team remaining in the playoffs will be a stiff challenge. So, the Redskins' round two playoff opponent might as well be the Seattle Seahawks--the team with the NFC's best record at 13-3 and the team with the NFL's 2005 MVP in running back Shaun Alexander.
"When we played them on Week 4, our scouting reports said they had one of the best offensive lines, if not the best, in the league," Evans said. "And their running back? The season he's had speaks for itself. Really, any team you're going to be playing at this stage has all sorts of weapons."
Last week at Tampa Bay, in the Redskins' 17-10 wild card round win, Evans came up with an early sack against Bucs quarterback Chris Simms. He used his speed to ground Simms and help set the tone for the Redskins' defense.
At Seattle, Evans may be in for extensive playing time at left defensive end, given the fact that Renaldo Wynn underwent surgery to repair his fractured forearm on Sunday morning. Wynn was officially placed on injured reserve by the team on Monday morning.
While Wynn, one of the most popular of all Redskins, will wear a brace over his right forearm for the next eight weeks of his rehabilitation process, Evans looks ahead to the most important game of his four-year NFL career.
In an interview with Evans on Monday afternoon, Evans sounds as though he's ready to step in and try to do his part. He knows that Wynn, one of his primary mentors in the NFL, will be watching. Evans doesn't want to let him down.
Says Evans, the 6-3, 285-pound defensive end who is in his second season with the Redskins: "You never want to get your shot because of a teammate's injury. Particularly with a guy like Renaldo. He's one of our leaders. He's helped bring me along. I wouldn't be in this position, except for all the help he's given me over the past two seasons."
Evans, who played his college ball at Georgia, was with the Cowboys between 2001 and 2003 and did a stint in NFL Europe with Cologne the following year.
He signed with the Redskins as an unrestricted free agent in July of 2004 and caught the attention of Redskins coaches with the way he played in the season finale versus Minnesota. Evans came up with seven tackles and 1.5 sacks as the Redskins beat Minnesota 21-18 on Week 17 last year.
At Seattle, he'll have to help the Redskins as they try to get a pass rush on Matt Hasselbeck--the defense logged just one sack (by Lemar Marshall) in the Week 4 game--and he'll have to help his team as it tries to prevent Alexander from having a big day.
"The thing about a back like Shaun Alexander is, you can't allow him to get off to a good start. If he does that, he can have a big game against you," said Evans. "He can take it the distance, that's for sure.
"In that first game, on Week 4, we were able to do a decent job on him. But he still broke two big runs. We can't let that stuff happen."
Alexander, who played with Chris Samuels and Cornelius Griffin at Alabama, carried 20 times for 98 yards and one TD in the game at FedExField. His longest run was a 34-yarder at the 6:13 mark of the third quarter.
The Redskins won that one 20-17 in overtime on Nick Novak's 39-yard field goal. It was a game in which Seattle wide receivers Bobby Engram (9 catches, 106 yards) and Darrell Jackson (7 catches, 55 yards, 1 TD) really stood out.
The keys for the Redskins in that Week 4 matchup? They were outstanding on third down conversions (13-for-18) and they dominated in time of possession, keeping the ball for 39 minutes, 22 seconds.
Now, in the second round of the playoffs, the key for Washington's defense very well may be how it contains Alexander, who finished the regular season with 370 carries, 1,880 yards and 28 TDs (27 rushing).