Strength: Adding Albert Haynesworth to this group provides the playmaker Washington sorely lacked.
Haynesworth is disruptive and versatile, being able to line up at end on occasion. Some teams will try to use three men to block him (a double team and then have a running back chip on him). That means everyone else must just beat a one on one. He and Cornelius Griffin should form a strong tandem up the middle. And good defenses start with that formula. There's decent depth, too, with former starters Kedric Golston and Anthony Montgomery as reserves. Andre Carter is capable of a double-digit sack year and rookie Brian Orakpo adds a burst off the edge. Phillip Daniels has been an anchor at left end.
Weakness: They still lack an elite pass rusher, with Carter merely a decent one.
Hayneworth is a guy who should set up sacks as much as record them. Daniels is 36 and coming off a major knee injury – how will that translate? Rookies often struggle as pass rushers while learning how to do it in the NFL.
Key question: Can the line finally provide a rush?
The Redskins have had to rely on the blitz for the past several years to generate pressure. It's not even a matter of sacks, it's about making the QB feel uncomfortable. That hasn't happened in a long while. With Haynesworth, the Redskins have someone to combat those three-step drops and quick passes over the middle. If h e collapses the pocket quickly, then those passes are tougher to make.
The verdict: Haynesworth will have a huge impact.
After talking to others around the league – even those who didn't want anything to do with him – his talent, and therefore his ability to dominate, is not in question. Others will benefit. Put him by, say, Orakpo in a pass-rush situation and if Haynesworth draws two or three blockers, then Orakpo can perhaps have a bigger impact. Or Carter on the left side (where he'll be in rush situations). Daniels is a mild concern, but he's in such good shape and now is a muscular 300 pounds.
John Keim covers the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and is a contributing editor for Warpathinsiders.com. He has covered the team since 1994. Some of his other stories can be found at dcexaminer.com
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