Carter to Make Move to Outside Linebacker in 2010
By: Jake Russell @_JakeRussell
Category: Washington Redskins News
Amidst all the front office and coaching changes that have taken place at Redskins Park over the last month and a half, there will have to be another change to account for, this time on the players’ side.
Andre Carter, who had one of the best seasons of his career in 2009 at defensive end, will be making the move to outside linebacker in 2010 under new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett’s scheme, which is expected to be the 3-4 alignment.
“As soon as I think I'm out, they put me back in,” Carter said jokingly. “I can play linebacker. I know I am a true defensive end but the transition, again, will be easier for me.”
Carter, who many feel was snubbed due to his omission from the Pro Bowl, was tied for 7th in the league with 11 sacks along with teammate and Pro Bowler Brian Orakpo and Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware. Carter also had 62 tackles and four passes defended this season while helping improve the team’s sack total from 24 in 2008 to 40 in 2009.
Although he is unclear of his exact role at this point, Carter says that will be cleared up in the spring when the team returns to offseason practices.
“I will eventually have a feel of the scheme once OTA's start. I am sure the scheme will be different from the 3-4 defense I experienced from ‘05 in San Francisco,” Carter said.
Carter played in all 16 games at outside linebacker during his final season as a 49er, totaling 44 tackles and 4.5 sacks. His experience should be beneficial in his transition to the Redskins new defense.
“Even though it's been years [since] I have played linebacker, I am sure the mind will remember techniques used to rush, drop and cover backs and tight ends,” he said.
Carter says the toughest part of playing linebacker is being on the same page with his teammates that are around him.
“The hardest part of playing linebacker is communication; anticipating the moves of your opponent whether it's a tight end or running back. It can be confusing not knowing where your help is with the secondary. You have to pay attention to the calls of the ‘Mike’ backer as well as the cornerbacks,” Carter said.
There is a special advantage to making the transition from defensive end to linebacker, however.
“The easiest thing about linebacker is having more width against those big offensive linemen and you can utilize your speed to make plays.”
A New Direction for the Team
Carter’s return to linebacker is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to changes that have been put in place in the organization for the 2010 season.
The most profound shift came in the front office when Bruce Allen was named General Manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations with three games left in the 2009 regular season.
The second power move came when Owner Dan Snyder named Mike Shanahan the team’s newest Executive Vice President and Head Coach just two days after firing Head Coach Jim Zorn, who is now the Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach.
The hiring of Allen and Shanahan marked a momentous shift in the direction of the team and the players have taken notice.
“We have a great staff. Our new coach speaks for himself. Two Super Bowls and creating playoff bound teams is something he is known for. He has all the tangibles of designing a team that is blessed [with] talent. The journey will not come overnight. Timing is key but with patience the outcome will be positive,” Carter said.
While Carter knows only the basics of the new assistants who were brought in under Shanahan’s overhauled staff, he will soon find out what they’re truly about. Based on first impressions, he expects the new staff to bring respectability to the Redskins.
“I have learned about their history, where they are from, how they started, etc. We are hoping there will be a new beginning with the new coaches. [I hope they will] create a regime that will be respected not only in the NFC East but also in the NFL,” he said.
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