Positional Analysis: Defensive Line

Keep your eye on: tackle Joe Salave'a, the six-year veteran. The coaches like what they've seen of him in the offseason and he could be a surprise starter. But, like the other potential starters, he's a smaller tackle at 295 pounds.

Strengths: Stopping the run. End Phillip Daniels, when healthy, gives the Redskins a legitimate run defender on the right side, something they haven't had in a few years. But will that be enough? Daniels will shift inside against the pass. End Renaldo Wynn will not make a lot of plays, but his professional attitude is a bonus. Tackle Cornelius Griffin has shown flashes of his ability. If tackle Brandon Noble can fully recover from his injury, he will help. He's not a savior, but he is a quality player and his savvy will help those around him.

Weaknesses: Rushing the passer. There's no one on this line who scares quarterbacks and that will be a major problem. If the Redskins have to rely on linebackers to apply all the pressure, big plays will result -- for and against them. No one knows how effective Noble can really be and Griffin, for his flashes, has not put together a full season of consistent play. Also, the Redskins lack a true stout run-stopper in the middle. Griffin weighs only 300 pounds; Noble weighs 304. Eventually, smaller players -- by comparison -- get worn down, in games and seasons. Considering the sizes, the Redskins need a healthy Noble so they can have a better rotation. Otherwise, trouble awaits.

Not sure about: tackle Jermaine Haley. He was OK before hurting his wrist last year, but from what we hear the coaches aren't thrilled with him. As of now, they're not expecting him to start.

Wondering about: End Regan Upshaw. He did very little last year, first because of a bum knee and second because he was uncomfortable on the left side (usually played on the right). Little has been said about him, but if he can provide some rush it would be a help. I wonder about that: there's a reason why the coaches want LaVar Arrington rushing at right end.


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