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Baker Focused On 'Crashing' Quarterbacks

Posted Feb 11, 2014

Even with OLB Brian Orakpo scheduled to hit free agency, the Washington Redskins have addressed the position by adding Coach Brian Baker, brought in to augment the attack on opposing quarterbacks.

The Washington Redskins' pass rush won't be taking "good enough" as the standard in 2014.

After a season that saw the Redskins fall to No. 21 in the NFL in sacks, the coaching staff will feature two linebackers coaches next season; one each to focus on the inside and outside.

Outside linebackers coach Brian Baker comes over from the Cleveland Browns where he served in the same position last season.

By freely exhibiting his emotions on the sideline, Baker will stand in stark contrast to his predecessors at the position.

"I'm animated. You know, I really get excited about football," he said with a broad smile. "I love coaching football. I love the game, and I like to show that to my players.

"I get excited. I get after them, but I get excited and love them up too when they deserve it."

After an unexpectedly tumultuous offseason in Cleveland, Baker sees Washington as the place for a fresh start.

"It was a shock, but it was a blessing too because we run a very similar system," he told Redskins.comTV's Larry Michael, regarding his termination. "It was great to get that experience.

"I had no idea that it was going to lead to this but I was very, very blessed to do that."

Baker brings a wealth of experience, coaching the pass rush from the 4-3 in Dallas, as well as the 3-4 in Dallas and Cleveland. The Washington position excited him because Jim Haslett's 3-4 scheme mimics the Roy Horton defense run in Cleveland.

"[They] all kind of come from that Pittsburgh family," he said with a smile. "So what it did was give me the opportunity to coach the outside linebackers, which I hadn’t done in a number of years in this system.

"I had never been in this system. When I coached in the 3-4 before, it was with Rob Ryan in Dallas and I was coaching the D-line, and our system was a little different then what we do here."

The foundation for success, however, remains the same: see the ball, attack the ball.

“Crash the football, now," he said. "Because the ball is in the air all the time now, and we want to make sure we are knocking down the guy that’s putting the ball in the air.

"Seattle is a great example of what that can do to an entire franchise and obviously give them a chance to win the Super Bowl, and that’s something we want to do."

Baker was impressed with the Seahawks' ability to cycle a number of high quality players through the lineup and put everyone in the best position to succeed.

"The biggest challenge is the same challenge as every place I’ve been, and that’s to get the guys to play to the best of their ability," he said bluntly. "I think it’s all relative to what those guys are."

That learning process started the day he was hired by Bruce Allen, Haslett and Jay Gruden.

"The first thing I want to do, and I’m in that process now, is have a really good feel for what these guys are," he said of his players. "I want to know what Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan are all about. All those guys that I’m charged with having the opportunity to coach.

"I want to know what they are as football players so I can help them then be the best that they are, then as a collective unit, obviously putting pressure on the passer."

Given his past experience, Baker should also be able to lend a hand with the defensive line, implementing his experience for the collective good.

"That’s a lot of the reason why I’m here," he said, candidly. "Jim [Haslett] and I have been together, and when I worked with Jim before in Saint Louis, when we were a 4-3 team, I was the defensive line coach.

"He had an opportunity to evaluate me as a pass-rush coach and then as a defensive line coach, and he kind of knows the philosophy that we both share."

From the sounds of it, soon-to-be free agent Brian Orakpo factors heavily into the team's plans for next year.

"Orakpo is a double-digit [sack] guy and Kerrigan can certainly be that. It’s not like I’m taking a bad group of pass rushers to make them a good group of pass rushers," he said.

"You have to concentrate on them because both guys are disruptive. They’re very good pass rushers. They get after the quarterback. They are proficient in coverage.

"Hopefully Jake (defensive line coach Jacob Burney) and I can get together and make a really good group of pass rushers better. That’s really what we’re trying to do."

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