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Roster Review: Defensive Ends

gary-banner2.jpg breaks down the Redskins' roster position-by-position and identifies potential need areas. Up next: defensive ends.

After compiling a league-low 19 sacks in 2006, Redskins defensive coaches put an emphasis on pressuring the passer last season.

They added middle linebacker London Fletcher, cornerback Fred Smoot and safety LaRon Landry last offseason, while keeping the defensive line relatively status quo.

The decision paid off. With improved coverage in the secondary, defensive linemen had more time to rush the passer and the team logged 32 sacks in 2007.

Andre Carter led the way with a team-high 10.5 sacks and 17 quarterback pressures. A classic speed rusher off the edge, Carter used his quickness to get past bigger offensive linemen and pressure the quarterback.

In his second season with the Redskins, Carter got off to a fast start, logging four sacks and a safety in the Redskins' first four games. He totaled 65 tackles, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery for the season to go along with his 10.5 sacks.

Opposite Carter was 12-year veteran Phillip Daniels, who continued to provide veteran leadership. He provides steady support in run defense, but his sack totals the last two seasons--just 5.5--are down.

In 2007, Daniels recorded 47 tackles, 2.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Daniels has played for new Redskins defensive boss Greg Blache the last eight years of his career (including four seasons in Chicago), so he knows the scheme inside and out.

On pass-rushing situations, Daniels often moved inside to play tackle and linebacker Marcus Washington served as a defensive end.

When Washington was sidelined with a hamstring injury midseason, coaches turned to first-year player Chris Wilson, another speed rusher.

Wilson was effective off the edge, compiling four sacks and 15 tackles in limited duty. Two of his sacks came in the Redskins' season-finale against the Dallas Cowboys.

Wilson added two more sacks in the Redskins' Wild Card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Demetric Evans remains a solid and versatile backup on the defensive line. In his fourth season in Washington, Evans played in all 16 games with one start, finishing with 31 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.

Alex Buzbee, a local product out of Georgetown, spent most of last season on the Redskins' practice squad. Late in the year, the Kansas City Chiefs attempted to sign him to their roster, but the Redskins opted to promote him instead, retaining his services.

In January, the Redskins signed Kevin Huntley and Tommy Davis to round out the off-season roster.

Davis spent time on the Redskins' practice squad last year. He entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent with the New York Giants.

Huntley has had NFL stints with the Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders, logging 13 tackles and 2.5 sacks in limited action. He grew up in Washington, D.C.

#### Positional Analysis

The Redskins have identified defensive line as a need position this offseason. Team officials could look to draft a young defensive end to eventually replace Phillip Daniels, who is 34.

Carter is in the prime of his career and should continue to provide solid pass pressure with his speed.

Wilson is an intriguing prospect and he could see more playing time next season. He may need to bulk up some from his 6-4, 245-pound playing weight last season.

Evans is a reliable reserve, but he could be pushed for a roster spot this offseason if a young defensive end is brought into the mix.

Buzbee, Huntley and Davis are expected to battle for roster spots in training camp and preseason.

## Three Defensive Ends Eligible For Free Agency
As of March 11, 2008; names listed are in no particular order

  • Mike Rucker, Carolina Panthers: Rucker has 22 sacks in the 2002-03 seasons, but in 16 starts last year, he logged just three sacks.
  • Greg Spires, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Spires, an 11-year veteran, has 39.5 career sacks, but logged just two in 10 games last season.
  • Renaldo Wynn, New Orleans Saints: The former Redskin moved on to the Saints and posted 13 tackles and 3.5 sacks last year.

Three Defensive Ends Available In the Draft

As of March 11, 2008; names listed are in no particular order

  • Calais Campbell, Miami: Campbell was coached by new Redskins' defensive line coach John Palermo in 2006. He has 19 career sacks.
  • Chris Long, Virginia The son of Hall of Famer and FOX broadcaster Howie Long, Chris emerged as a dominant force last year with 14 sacks.
  • Vernon Gholston, Ohio State: Rising fast up the draft boards, Gholston is somewhat undersized and could play outside linebacker in the NFL. He has 22.5 sacks the last two years with the Buckeyes.
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