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For Carter, D-Line Success Is About 'Coming Together'


In the last year, the Redskins have acquired a pair of high-profile defensive lineman, adding to the core of a veteran group.

First it was defensive end Jason Taylor, who joined the team last July but played just one season with the Redskins.

Then it was defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who signed a lucrative contract with the Redskins as a free agent this offseason.

Andre Carter has eyed the new additions and he understands how they benefit him as a pass rusher.

At the same time, Carter maintains that integrating any new addition into the Redskins' defensive scheme is what matters most.

"One individual does not make a team," Carter said. "Haynesworth knows that, I know that, Philip [Daniels] knows that. Even Jason Taylor knows that. It's the camaraderie that you put forth.

"Everybody looks at it as, when a big contract guy comes in, 'He's the man.' It's more about how they play in that scheme and how they play together. That's what it is going to boil down to."

Three years ago, Carter was a high-profile addition to the Redskins' defense, coming to Washington after five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.

Carter was fortunate to have veterans in Daniels and Renaldo Wynn to help him acclimate to his new surroundings.

Now Carter, Daniels and Wynn can help Haynesworth integrate himself on the defensive line.

Since joining the Redskins, Carter leads the defense with 20.5 sacks, including 10.5 in 2007. He has 52.5 sacks in his 8-year career.

Haynesworth, an All-Pro defensive tackle each of the last two years with the Tennessee Titans, is expected to help provide a stronger push up the middle and collapse the pocket quicker.

That should force quarterbacks into an area where Carter can help disrupt plays with tackles and sacks.

That's the best-laid plan, but Carter cautions that the components must come together as a unit.

"I always tell people, it looks good on paper," he said. "You can have all the talent in the world, but if it doesn't come together it doesn't mean anything.

"Now as far as the level of confidence and strength and continuity that we have on the defensive line and as a team generally, it's great. But we have to play like that together through the preseason and going into the regular season."

Carter received some more defensive help in the draft last April when the Redskins selected Orakpo with the 13th-overall pick in the first round.

Orakpo comes to the Redskins after recording 11.5 sacks as a senior at the University of Texas. In the NFL, he is viewed as a versatile player who can play both defensive end and strong-side linebacker as needed.

During mini-camp and OTAs this offseason, Orakpo saw action primarily at linebacker, so Carter and the Redskins' defensive linemen have not had much time to work with him yet.

"Once training camp starts, I think we'll get more one-on-one time with him as a defensive lineman and as a pass rusher," Carter said.

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