Q&A With: Lemar Marshall

He started 14 games in place of LaVar Arrington last year, but, as of now, Lemar Marshall is preparing for a move to the middle. It won't be easy: Marshall has never played in the middle. But he is willing and knows why the Redskins feel he can make the switch.

Warpath Insiders: What do you think about playing in the middle?

Lemar Marshall: Well, with me never having played Mike linebacker, it'll be a challenge. I'm all for any chaallenge. Last year, the only position I didn't quite know as much, and wasn't totally prepared to play, was middle linebacker. But the thing I tried to do last year was to know the responsibility as much as possible. This year we'll start looking early at film, take our time and I'll learn as much as I can so it's an easier transition. Antonio just got thrown into the fire at this position.

WI: The more you can do, the more valuable you are to the team. But that's a big switch from college safety to outside linebacker to the middle, isn't it?

LM: It is a big difference. I've played corner, safety and one year when Marvin was here I played on the defensive line for a couple plays. So it's one of those things where the more you can do the more valuable you can be for the team. That's what it's about. But I'll try to bulk up to maintain that weight. Last year I did a good job maintaining that weight, but I fell off toward the end of the year. Playing outside, I tried to use more of my athletic ability. It's paid off for the most part, but I want to be more physically equipped to play that position so I can not only play it, but dominate. My whole thing is to bulk up for to dominate.

WI: How much weight would you like to add?

LM: I'm down right now because it's the offseason. But I figured last year I was at 228 and that's a good weight for me. That's probably my best weight. I've been up to 233 and I didn't feel comfortable. I don't want to put on bad weight. I was just eating bad stuff and now I'm watching my weight and I've gained more muscle. That's what I looking at right now, trying to get more bulk by eating right and adding muscle mass.

WI: What did the coaches tell you about why moving you to the middle can work?

LM: It was some things I did good as far as shedding blocks against certain offensive linemen. Not just tight ends or fullbacks. AP and I can do similar things. He weighed more than me, but he wasn't much heavier than me. They know I'm an athlete. The good thing is I already know how an outside linebacker thinks and having played safety, I know how a safety thinks. The more you know, the better you can play in the middle.

WI: And I suppose the better the line plays, the more they can keep guys off you. Won't that be a big help?

LM: That will help. I'm not big like Trotter so I couldn't do the same downhill stuff like he is. You've got to play the hand you're dealt. I'm a good athlete so I'll work around it.

WI: A big thing with AP is how well he knew the position. How comfortable do you feel as far as your knowledge of the middle and calling audibles, etc.?

LM: I feel comfortable doing it. Last year during practice sometimes AP needed a break so I was the guy to come in and take his place and do all the calls and get people in the right place. So I have a good jump on it.

WI: Are you excited?

LM: Yeah, I'm excited. Inside, outside I just want to be on the field.

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