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Redskins Hope to Pick Up the Sack Pace



The Redskins built some momentum in a vital department--sacks--despite losing to Pittsburgh at home 23-6 on Nov. 3.

They gave up an unbearably painful seven sacks, of course, but along with that the Redskins did in fact get their sack game going again.

Demetric Evans led in that regard with 2.5 sacks, half of Washington's total versus Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich. Chris Horton and Kedric Golston both produced sacks and Rocky McIntosh was in on a half sack.

Now, with the Cowboys coming in on Sunday night in what amounts to a possible season-tipping NFC East matchup for both sides, can the Redskins keep it going in the sack game?

The key storyline when this season began is that the addition of Jason Taylor at defensive end opposite Andre Carter could mean big sack seasons for both players.

That hasn't happened.

After nine games, the often-injured Taylor has just one sack and Carter has just two.

Overall, the Redskins have 15 sacks heading into the game versus Dallas. Evans (3.5), Carter and Golston (2) are the only players with more than one.

In recent weeks, the Dallas offensive front has struggled, particularly on the left side, with Flozell Adams at tackle and Cory Procter at guard. But some of that was with slow-footed Brad Johnson at quarterback. Tony Romo, who will return to the field on Sunday night, is much more adept at avoiding a pass rush.

Johnson and Brooks Bollinger went down a total of four times in the Cowboys' 35-14 loss to the Giants on Week 9.

After nine games, the Redskins have just 15 sacks as a defense. That's tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 25th in the league. Pittsburgh and the New York Jets top the NFL with 34 team sacks.

Individually, Miami's Joey Porter leads the AFC with 12 sacks and Atlanta's John Abraham is in front in the NFC with 11.

In short, the Redskins have some work to do over the final seven weeks as they hope to build up their resume in the category of team sacks.

Carter turned around his 2006 season, his first in Washington, with a return to basics.

He was much more effective in the pass rush late in the year. The Redskins need him to start doing the same this time around, too.

Carter described his approach in the final month of 2006 as simple as: "One, two, and then I use my move. I rush the QB without hesitation."

That year, the 6-4, 252-pounder finished with a team-high six sacks as well as 72 tackles (53 solo), most among defensive linemen. He also led the defense with 21 quarterback pressures.

Last year, Carter led the defene with 10.5 sacks.

"I'm a goal-setter, and double-digit sacks, that's always my goal," Carter said. "But you know what, I would take a winning season and going to the playoffs more than anything, even sacks."

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