Andre Carter is beginning to show what can happen when a coaching staff doesn't give up on a new defensive player halfway through the season.
The Washington Redskins defensive end struggled early this season, much like new safety Adam Archuleta. Carter, who signed a $30 million contract in March, had only 15 tackles and two sacks in the first eight games.
But while Archuleta was banished to the bench because of his struggles, Carter has remained a starter and begun to show flashes of productivity. He has 19 tackles in the last four games, including a career-high 11 and a sack in Sunday's 24-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
"I'm constantly trying to turn the corner because when you think you've turned it, there's another corner in front of you," he said yesterday at Redskin Park. "I knew I could play the run well, and I was confident in my technique."
The Redskins' scheme requires defensive ends to play a role in stopping the run, as opposed to a team like Indianapolis that allows star end Dwight Freeney to zero in on the quarterback.
"When you mention a defense like Indianapolis, they just let their [ends] go, and the linebackers fill the holes, and most defenses are like that," Carter said. "Here we have to be responsible for our gap."
Carter recorded his third sack Sunday, his first since Oct. 15. He had 41/2 with San Francisco last season.
"It takes a new guy some time to get used to the scheme and get acquainted with the guys he's playing with," defensive end Phillip Daniels said. "This is what we expect from him and what I think we'll get from him in the future."
Novak out, Suisham in
The Redskins released kicker Nick Novak and will stick with Shaun Suisham for at least one more week.
Suisham was signed to the active roster Saturday and handled all the kicks against Atlanta, a sign Novak was on his way out. Suisham averaged 66.7 yards on three kickoffs, but his hang time was marginal. He missed a 50-yard field goal.
The Redskins re-signed defensive tackle Ryan Boschetti, who was released Saturday to make room for Suisham.
Trailing by 10 points with 6:22 remaining at their own 5-yard line Sunday the Redskins didn't show much urgency moving down the field. They continued to huddle and took 36, 26 and 17 seconds between snaps early in the 14-play drive, which ended with an interception.
They finally went no-huddle with 4:03 remaining.
Linebacker Khary Campbell and cornerback Shawn Springs missed Sunday's loss with hamstring injuries. Both were optimistic they would be ready to play against Philadelphia on Sunday at FedEx Field.
Springs, who missed his sixth game of the season, said he would be "full speed" by tomorrow's practice. Campbell was injured against Carolina, his first hamstring injury.
"I'm going to try and be limited on Wednesday," he said. "It's still day to day, but I'm going to prepare as if I will be playing."