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Holliday Has Plenty Left In the Tank


Consider Vonnie Holliday a coach on the field.

Holliday wants to help teammates with the nuances of the 3-4 defense, the scheme the Redskins' coaches experimented with and implemented this offseason.

Holliday excelled in a 3-4 last year with the Denver Broncos and the previous four seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

"A lot of these guys have not played in a 3-4 before, so a part of my role on this team is to help them along, too," he said.

Holliday, a 12-year NFL veteran, joined the Redskins this offseason, signing with the club on May 17. He participated in the team's OTAs and final mini-camp.

Holliday is a natural defensive end in a 3-4. He has good size at 6-5 and 279 pounds, he is a sound tackler, and he has good speed to rush the passer.

Early in OTAs, Holliday said he was primarily working as a pass rusher in nickel and dime packages.

"The 3-4 gives you a lot of different looks," he said. "It's very aggressive and defenders move around a lot. There are a lot of good things about a 3-4 for a guy who may be a little undersized. It gives you an opportunity to rely more on technique and quickness at times."

In 167 career games, with 144 starts, Holliday has recorded 572 tackles, 60 sacks, two interceptions, nine forced fumbles and 11 fumble recoveries.

A cagey veteran, Holliday still has plenty left in the tank. He logged five sacks in 16 games last year with the Broncos.

He called joining Washington "a good fit" for him at this stage of his career.

"I am an older guy [at age 34] and I've been around a while, and this is a defense that I am very familiar with," he said. "It's just a matter of learning the terminology."

At defensive end, Holliday is competing for playing time with fellow veterans Phillip Daniels, Kedric Golston, Adam Carriker, Kedric Golston and Darrion Scott.

"All I wanted is an opportunity and I got it," he said. "The competition is great and that pushes me as a player. You want the best guys on the field. You want the best guys on the field with you. I feel pretty confident that I am one of those guys, but we'll see what happens when the chips fall."

Holliday was one of the elite defensive line prospects back in the 1998 NFL Draft.


He was expected to be a top 10 pick, but he dropped to the Green Bay Packers at the 19th overall selection.

Holliday quickly emerged as a starter on a playoff-caliber Packers team. He logged eight sacks as a rookie and averaged 6.5 sacks his first five years in the league.

Holliday played two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs before moving on to the Dolphins in 2005.

"Every place he has been, it has been impressive how he handled himself," head coach Mike Shanahan said. "I've followed him throughout his career. He has been a class act and a good football player. I think his skills fit in very well with our scheme and what we're doing defensively."

Holliday has pretty much seen it all, but winning the Super Bowl is his priority in what could be his last stop in the NFL.

"I can accept whatever role I have," he said. "At the end of the day, I just want to win. If it's as a starter, so be it. If it's as a backup, a role player, doing more nickel and dime rushing, we'll see what happens. I'm excited about the opportunity. It's a great opportunity. I think we have an opportunity to be a very competitive team."

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