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Coaches Excited About D-Line Rotation

Posted Aug 11, 2012

The Redskins defense line didn't add any big names this offseason, but the unit showed improved talent and depth Thursday night, as most entered their second full year in the system.

The Redskins made the defensive line a major priority before last season, adding starters Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield to a unit that already included Adam Carriker, Kedric Golston and draft picks Jarvis Jenkins and Chris Neild.

The unit performed well in year one, despite losing Jenkins and Golston for extended periods of time.

After a healthy offseason and the emergence of contributors Chris Baker and Darrion Scott, the Redskins' defensive line looks to have a tremendous rotation in the works.

"This is as deep as a defensive line I’ve had in a long time," head coach Mike Shanahan said after the Bills game.  "It's going to be a lot of guys fighting for a position."

In total, the Redskins defense limited the Bills to six points on 219 yards, and four-for-16 on third down attempts.

Perhaps the best stand of the day came early in the game, following a fumble on the handoff exchange between Robert Griffin III and Evan Royster.  The Bills recovered the ball at the 21-yard line, but were pushed back to the 25 before settling for a field goal.

"You have to have the mindset," Shanahan said.  "Find a way to keep them out of the endzone, It shows you a lot about our players, the character of our guys.

"I was very pleased with the way they handled themselves.  Give up six points, with that type of effort, that type of enthusiasm."

As training camp resumes today, the competition and cohesion along the line sets the tone for a dominant 2012.

"I’ve got a heck of a group and I’m excited about those guys," said defensive line coach Jacob Burney.  "They are total professionals; they’ve got the right attitude, the right work-ethic, and they take the coaching.

"These are men. These aren’t kids—these are men.  And that’s a joy for me."

Unlike a year ago--when injuries forced starters to take too many snaps--the coaching staff anticipates a regular rotation in 2012.  This will allow starters to stay healthy throughout the season and stay fresh late in games.

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett credited the versatility of the unit, mentioning the possibility of Jenkins and Cofield switching spots in certain packages.

"We have enough bodies, and everybody can’t play every down," Haslett explained.  "I like the attitude and the way the guys are working. I love the depth we have right now."