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PAUL WOODY: No-names give Skins big games


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No-names give Skins big games

Run defense upgraded by four obscure linemen





ASHBURN - Sometimes in the NFL, who you are and who you know are not important. Sometimes, what matters are what you know and what you do.

The names Bernard Holsey, Martin Chase, Lionel Dalton and Jermaine Haley do not carry the impact of Darryl Gardener or even Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson.

What Holsey, Chase, Dalton and Haley do carry, though, is their weight in the Redskins' defense.

In two games this season, Redskins opponents have totaled 156 yards rushing. In the weeks leading into the season, the popular assumption was that the Redskins' defense would be fortunate to give up only 156 yards rushing per game.

"I saw something about that," Holsey said. "I don't pay any attention to what anyone says.

"We control what we do, and it doesn't matter what anybody says about us as long as we play and do our best and are doing what we're supposed to be doing."

The assignments for Holsey (6-2, 286), Chase (6-2, 310), Dalton (6-1, 315), and Haley (6-4, 325) are relatively simple: stay low, plug gaps, oc- cupy blockers and keep the linebackers free to make plays. It's not glamorous work, nor is it something any wide-bodied player can do.

"So far, so good," Redskins defensive-line coach Robert Nunn said. "They've played well so far, but it's a long season. We're two games into it, and we're right where we want to be.

"They're going to be challenged every week. But we know they're going to work hard enough to succeed."

When training camp began, Chase and Dalton weren't on the Redskins' roster, and it wasn't clear whether Holsey was in their plans. Chase was in New Orleans. Dalton was in Denver. Holsey had been released by New England during the off-season, and the Redskins signed him just before training camp began.

Meanwhile, Gardener was long gone after signing a lucrative free-agent contract with Denver. The Redskins released Wilkinson on the second day of training camp when he rejected their offer on a renegotiated contract.

Three weeks later, Brandon Noble, who had been signed to play next to Wilkinson, suffered a season-ending knee injury. Suddenly, the Redskins needed several experienced defensive tackles.

The Redskins knew New Orleans was deep at the position and might be willing to trade a player. The Broncos had changed defensive coordinators, and Dalton no longer fit their needs. The Redskins gave up low-round draft choices to get Chase and Dalton.

"You lose Darryl Gardener and Big Daddy, and I can understand how a lot of people would feel the Redskins lost marquee guys in the middle," Chase said. "But I think the four of us know how to play football, and as long as we work hard and play hard, we can get the job done."

The job description for the Redskins' defensive tackles does not include a lot of tackling. Chase leads the group with four tackles, and Holsey has three. Dalton, who plays about 16 snaps per game, and Haley, who is a starter, have yet to make a tackle. Haley missed the second game of the season because of a fractured thumb.

"All of these guys can anchor down, play with a low center of gravity and hold the point of attack," Nunn said. "They're not guys who can go sideline to sideline making plays. But that's not what we're asking them to do."

Holsey, Chase, Haley and Dalton are newcomers to the Redskins, but they're not newcomers in the NFL. Each has enough experience to realize when an offensive lineman is trying to get down the field for blocking purposes. So far, the defensive tackles have done a good job of tying up those blockers before they can chip on the linebackers.

That keeps the defensive tackles from hitting a running back, but it keeps the linebackers upright and mobile.

"If one of our linebackers tackles a guy in the backfield, and I'm holding two guys up, I consider that to be making a play," Holsey said.

The Redskins agree with that assessment.

AND FURTHERMORE: Redskins quarterback Patrick Ramsey has a sprained left shoulder and sat out of yesterday's practice. He's listed as probable for Sunday's game against the New York Giants. Tight end Zeron Flemister (strained Achilles' tendon) is questionable for Sunday. . . . The Redskins switched today's scheduled afternoon practice to 9 a.m. in an effort to beat the impending rain and wind from Hurricane Isabel.

Contact Paul Woody at (804) 649-6444 or pwoody@timesdispatch.com.

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"If one of our linebackers tackles a guy in the backfield, and I'm holding two guys up, I consider that to be making a play," Holsey said.


that attitude is what is different about this team than ones we have seen in the past few years here, unselfish play :)

Washington and San Francisco in the 1980's mixed in good team players with a few stars and produced excellent defenses. Neither was as talented as NY or Chicago on D, but those units got their teams to quite a few Super Bowls.

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Originally posted by Symbol

I think we can do it. The thing I'm going to be happy with is seeing the ball fly out of Tiki's not so well grasping arms and picked up by one of our linebackers.

They'll blow the whistle before any of our guys get to it

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Originally posted by Yomar the Nifty

They'll blow the whistle before any of our guys get to it

No, they'll wait till there's 7 guys on the pile, then blow the whistle, then dig through the pile, and if a Skin comes out of the pile with the ball, then they'll say that well, they thought he was down, so it's Giants ball, and the play's not reviewable.

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