Five Questions with: Santana Dotson

When the Redskins signed defensive tackle Santana Dotson, they acquired a player known for his locker room presence. Not to mention a decent player. Dotson isn't an all-star and may never be. And the Redskins still would like to add a beefy tackle. But the 6-foot-5, 287-pound Dotson provides Washington depth inside and versatility--he can play end, too.

Q: What do you feel you bring to the Redskins?

A: Exactly what I brought to the other teams I've been to: a positive influence in the locker room and on the field. Someone who can bring teams together. If I can help this team win three or four more games this year than that's all the difference in the world. Then we're in the playoffs and everyone is excited and happy. We're solid at linebacker and defensive backs. I come in trying to fill a void and solidify the line. Everyone knows what can happen from there.

Q: A lot of defensive tackles are heavier than you. How have you survived?

A: You're exactly right. This being my 11th year, it's all predicated on leverage, being able to stay low. And I'm not only undersized by today's standards, but I'm also 6-foot-5. Most of your tackles are in the 6-foot-1, 6-3 range. Being that tall I have to rely on my leverage and my quickness. You learn fast that if you're this tall and you play inside, you have to make sure that you stay low and move quick off the ball.

Q: You had 10 sacks as a rookie, but haven't approached that since, for whatever reason. How have you felt your career has gone?

A: It's hard to do that every year. Everything is predicated on the schemes you play. My numbers may not always have been big after that but the defenses I've been a part of have been big defenses.

Q: Obviously you've accomplished a lot. How effective do you feel you can still be?

A: Very effective. I'm not the old Santana Dotson. But I'm also not an old Santana Dotson. If I knew then what I know now, I would have been a lot more successful. The problem with being young and athletic and very talented, you're too dumbfounded and want to rely on that. The older you get the more you start the film study and review your techniques and you become a true student of the game.

Q: Are you now fully recovered from the quadriceps injury you suffered in 2000?

A: The main thing is that it's an injury that takes most people a year to come back from. I tore it in [November] and was back in September. I was full speed but the pounding of a season definitely drew from it. The injury lingered on. It feels outstanding now. I look forward to it being much better and not being an issue.


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