The Redskins spent a good portion of the 2009 offseason upgrading their defense.
DeAngelo Hall solidifies the secondary, Albert Haynesworth provides power up front and Brian Orakpo offers speed around the edge.
What does it give defensive coordinator Greg Blache?
And this was a solid, sound defense already. The unit was ranked No. 4 in the league last year.
"My expectation is yes, we will be better and we will step up," Blache said. "We have to make certain as coaches that our chemistry is good. We need to make sure our players play it and that we understand that chemistry doesn't just happen, swagger doesn't just happen. You earn that.
"We have to earn our respect and earn our props. You cannot make a defense better on paper. You have to do it on the football field."
Haynesworth, the 6-6, 350-pound Pro Bowl defensive tackle, is a big reason for the great expectations.
"With the addition of Brian and Albert, we can be real special," Phillip Daniels said. "But we have to go out and do it. Everyone has to go out and play well together. We want to be the No. 1 defense. That's our goal."
Haynesworth's value this week is at a premium with the Redskins opening the season against the New York Giants and their top-ranked ground game.
"I think [Haynesworth] will have a big impact on this team," Blache said. "I expect it to be that way, but at the same time we will have to wait and see. We all have expectations."
Is Blache feeling any pressure?
"Not anymore than what I place on myself anyway," he said. "If something adds pressure to you, you are not going to be good at what you do. If your own level you set for yourself is going to change from day to day because someone put pressure is on you, then you should go do something else."
-- RANDLE EL AS 3rd QB
With the Redskins carrying just two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, Antwaan Randle El becomes the de facto third quarterback.
Playing quarterback in an NFL game is something that Randle El has dreamed about, but when he joined the league in 2002 he transitioned to playing wide receiver.
He developed into a valuable multi-purpose threat as a receiver, kick returner and passer.
For his career, he has completed 21-of-28 passes for 314 yards and five touchdowns.
Asked about serving as a quarterback if needed, Randle El could not resist a smile.
"Oh, I'm good with that," he said. "I hate to say it with a smile. I don't ever, ever, wish anything bad to happen to my boys [Jason Campbell, Todd Collins], but if something happens? Strike up the band."
-- MOSS'S MEMORIES
This year marks the 34th and final season of Giants Stadium. The Giants will move into their new stadium being built next door to Giants Stadium for the start of the 2010 season.
Santana Moss played his home games at Giants Stadium from 2001-04 as a member of the New York Jets.
Asked for his favorite memory of Giants Stadium, he reflected back to Nov. 2, 2003.
"I had three touchdowns against the Giants at that stadium," he said.
Moss caught a career-high 10 passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-28 loss to the Giants.
"It's always nice to go back to that stadium knowing that I played there and it was my home stadium for a time," he said.
-- ROGERS UPDATE
Carlos Rogers was full-go in practice on Thursday after being limited in work on Wednesday.
Rogers was slowed by a calf injury during training camp and he played in just one of four preseason games.
Rogers does not believe his relative inactivity will hinder him.
"We practice at a high level," Rogers said. "With me being older now, my film study helps me a lot."
Greg Blache was equally unconcerned.
"We kind of protected him the last couple of weeks because we wanted to have him healthy," Blache said. "We didn't want this to be a lingering thing all season. I really believe Carlos will show no ill effects from the calf."
-- FOR HAYNESWORH, IT TAKES TWO
Albert Haynesworth has faced double teams most of his career.
So it won't faze him when he is forced to beat two offensive lineman time and again.
"I'm used to it," Haynesworth said. "That's just what teams do, they double-team you. It's really no different. It's just part of the game. I don't look at it as, 'Gosh, I hope I don't get double team.' I know it's going to happen anyway.'
And what happens when he finds himself one on one with an offensive lineman?
"You just have to capitalize on it," he said.