Need To Know: Five Things We\'ve Learned From Redskins Training Camp

Jason Hirschfeld/Associated Press

A lot is expected from Washington's defensive line this season. New general manager Scot McCloughan dedicated a hefty portion of his first free-agency kitty to adding playmakers along the front.

Since Ricky Jean Francois, Terrance Knighton and Stephen Paea arrived at Redskins Park, there's now better talent and more options in the trenches. The latter member of that trio has been catching the eye during practice sessions this week, per the Post's Jones:

Paea has a great first step off the ball. He also has quick hands, and that enables him to win a lot of battles in the trenches. We’ve seen him stop running backs behind the line multiple times during camp. Monday’s team run/run defense drills were no different. Paea lined up alongside Terrance Knighton and Jason Hatcher and seemed to have the quickest burst of any of the three.

Paea's ability to consistently create pressure from the interior will be the key to this season's defense. First-year coordinator Joe Barry is tweaking the current 3-4 scheme to give linemen more license to attack single gaps.

That's why a dynamic 3-technique like Paea was brought in this offseason. Having Knighton absorb double-teams in the middle will leave Paea and Hatcher free to exploit one blocker. It also works the other way.

The idea is to make it so that offensive linemen don't know who to double. Paea's impressive early showings are a promising sign that the new system can be an instant success.

But the former Chicago Bears starter isn't the only lineman making the most of camp. A forgotten member of the rotation is also offering a reminder that the new faces won't push him off the team just yet.

Veteran Kedric Golston also looked good this week, according to Andrew Walker and Stephen Czarda of the team's official site:

First, working with the first team during a session of 11-on-11s, the Georgia product did a nice job clogging the running lanes especially against Alfred Morris. Then later in the day in 1-on-1 drills, Golston had a nice rip move on Tyler Larsento get around him with ease. Finally, during the final 11-on-11 drills, Golston had a possible would-be sack. The 10-year veteran could be an important part of the team’s defensive line rotation, as he’s also been playing some nose tackle as well.

Golston looked like a man ticketed for the exit after McCloughan went lineman-heavy in free agency. Not only does Paea's arrival guarantee he won't start, signing Francois also makes it tough to see where he fits among the position group's key reserves.

It becomes tougher still when you consider the presence of Chris Baker and Frank Kearse, both of whom are very adept at creating pressure from the edges of the line. What counts in Golston's favor is the flexibility to play over the center as well as in the guard-tackle B-gap.

The 6'4", 318-pounder is also a pretty stout run defender. That's a valuable quality the Redskins shouldn't easily dismiss, especially when there are so many top running backs on this season's schedule.

Keeping Golston around only further strengthens the options line coach Robb Akey has to work with. It also gives Barry more combinations to throw at offenses.

This line, dubbed "Capital Punishment" by Knighton, will be under the spotlight in the team's preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns, per Rick Snider of the >Washington Post.

If the rotation performs well, it will be a good early omen for the success of this season's overhauled defense.

Source :

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