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Alexander’s getting defensive about his versatility
During his first year with the Washington Redskins, Lorenzo Alexander was the ultimate swing guy, seeing action as a reserve defensive tackle and a short-yardage tight end.
Alexander is strictly on defense this year, but that doesn’t mean he has lost his resourcefulness. And it may produce his best season.
Alexander is expected to fill the tackle/end role previously held by Demetric Evans, who parlayed starting 11 games into a two-year, $3.8 million contract with San Francisco.
“This is pretty big,” Alexander said. “Demetric got a lot of playing time last year and was able to showcase [himself]. To be able to play a lot at end and tackle and show my versatility should really help me out.”
It should help the Redskins, too.
Alexander is the only reserve who has experience at multiple positions on the line. He shifted between end and tackle in Sunday’s second practice because end Phillip Daniels and tackles Cornelius Griffin, Albert Haynesworth and Anthony Montgomery sat out the team portion.
“He’s tremendous, and what you like about him is that every play he is going all-out,” coach Jim Zorn said. “He continues to improve and continues to be a real valuable part of our team.”
Two years ago, Alexander got his first taste of the NFL, but the new coaching staff decided last August to make him a defense-only player. He averaged 17 snaps a game.
“It was tough because going offense to defense are totally different techniques,” he said. “Your base is a lot wider on offense, and the ways you shoot your hands are totally different. Sometimes I would get confused, not even thinking about it, and my body would do an offensive tackle move instead of a defensive tackle move and vice versa.”
Zorn: Takeaways will be up
The Redskins’ defense posted 19 turnovers last year, but only one came on a sack/fumble recovery. Zorn anticipates both totals to go up this year thanks to a deep defensive line - particularly Haynesworth and Brian Orakpo when he lines up at end - that is creating havoc in practice.
“We’re going to get the ball back a little bit more, I can tell you that right now,” Zorn said. “We’re struggling with those two guys. We’ve got a good pool of defensive linemen, and if there’s any sign of [a player] getting tired, you don’t feel bad about switching that group up. I’m expecting our pressure on the QB to be better.”
The Redskins’ even takeaway-giveaway ratio last year was tied for 16th in the NFL.
Zorn doesn’t have pitch counts for his quarterbacks, so Jason Campbell has done a ton of throwing during the first six practices.
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