Washington Redskins' Role Players That May Define 2010 Season

Philip SpeakeCorrespondent IAugust 25, 2010

Washington Redskins' Role Players That May Define 2010 Season

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    While the media tends to focus on Albert Haynesworth, Donovan McNabb, and Mike Shanahan, real consumers of football information know that games, divisions, and championships are won by teams, not stars.

    Here is a look at six Redskins who will need to have very good seasons if the team wants to reach its potential and compete for the NFC East title.  

Mike Sellers

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    Big No. 45 got paid last preseason after lobbying ownership for a raise for a few weeks. Sellers was going as far as telling the fans at training camp he needed to get a raise while performing stretches in warmups.

    Sellers went on to have a subpar season in 2010. While I am no film junkie he was called out by backfield mate Clinton Portis on more than one occasion, and his replacement at times, journeymen tight end Todd Yoder, outperformed him according to Portis.

    While nobody on the team had a spectacular season last year, Sellers needs to bounce back in a big way or he may be on his way out the door.

    He is 35 years old and the team drafted Dennis Morris out of Louisiana Tech in this year's draft to be groomed as his replacement.

    Enough of the negative. If Big Mike can return to his 2008 form the Redskins running game can flourish. While the fullback position is undervalued by many, if Redskins fans want to see No. 26 running through opposing secondaries they need Sellers to play at a Pro Bowl level.

Maake Kemoeatu

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    This big nose tackle played seven seasons in Baltimore and Carolina before missing all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon. Jim Haslett and Albert Haynesworth are both hoping he is fully recovered from that injury so that he can clog up the middle of the field.

    He is the only true nose tackle with real NFL experience on the roster and if he can play a full season it will allow Big Al to play right defensive end in the 3-4 base defense.

    With a fully motivated (probably not going to happen) Haynesworth at end and Brian Orakpo rushing in behind him things could get bothersome for opposing quarterbacks. Do not sleep on the importance of Kemoeatu in this 2010 season.

Graham Gano

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    The 2008 Lou Groza winner played in the Redskins' final four games last season and looked pretty good making all four of his field goal attempts. The Redskins have not had a consistent kicker since Chip Lohmiller left in the mid-90’s.

    Here is a list (courtesy of the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg) of the kickers since Lohmiller along with their stats. Remember Scott Bentley? Why did we ever get rid of him? Must have been Cerrato.

    Eddie Murray ('95, '00): 35-48, 72.9
    Scott Blanton ('96-'98): 44-60, 73.3
    Cary Blanchard ('98): 11-17, 64.7
    David Akers ('98): 0-2, 00.0
    Brett Conway ('99-'02): 52-69, 75.4
    Kris Heppner ('00): 4-6, 66.7
    Michael Husted ('00): 4-8, 50.0
    Scott Bentley ('00): 1-1, 100.0
    Jose Cortez ('02): 5-8, 62.5
    James Tuthill ('02): 10-16, 62.5
    John Hall ('03-'06): 54-70, 77.1
    Ola Kimrin ('04): 6-10, 60.0
    Jeff Chandler ('04): 5-6, 83.3
    Nick Novak ('05-'06): 10-17, 58.8
    Shaun Suisham ('06-'09): 82-102, 80.4

    We all know plenty of games are decided year in and year out by kickers. Mike Shanahan hopes he has his kicker for the next decade, but Gano has missed one already this preseason, so that remains to be seen.

Andre Carter

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    Coming off his best professional season (11 sacks), Andre Carter is switching positions. With the switch to the 3-4 defense Carter will be asked play pass coverage, which is not his strongest suit.

    He made it to Washington after he flopped playing outside linebacker in San Francisco so he will surely be a target of opponent’s game plans. Carter is best equipped at rushing the passer, which he will still get to do quite often.

    Already in the preseason he has been found out of position a few times, and he dropped an interception that my two-month old nephew could have caught. 

    His hands are like “salad tongs,” Jim Zorn said last season, after Carter failed to pick up a JaMarcus Russell inside the five-yard line for an easy touchdown.

    Don’t worry too much. If he fails to make the necessary adjustments to play outside linebacker, Lorenzo Alexander is right behind him on the depth chart, who is also new to the position after playing both offensive and defensive line in his career.

Carlos Rogers

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    This article was obviously not outlined properly. Wasting a joke about someone’s hands moments before the Carlos Rogers slide is an egregious error on my part. Fortunately I do not need to make a joke, since Rogers’ knack for dropping interceptions in not a laughing matter, because it is ridiculous. Remember the playoff game in Seattle in 2005?

    This has to be the year Mr. Rogers puts it all together, Jim Haslett has been highly complimentary of Rogers so far this year, and believes the new defense will allow him to shine and become a Pro Bowl caliber player.

    He was benched last year after Brandon Marshall did evil things to him, and Rogers wanted out of Washington by season's end. Now he seems relatively happy, so in turn he will make the fans happy in FedEx this year. Just like in the picture when he intercepted a pass that deflected off Justin Tryon's helmet.

Devin Thomas

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    Dude can run, block, and catch, we have seen it. He is very fast, powerful, and elusive. For some reason he has failed to put it all together into a consistent season. It could be due to the Redskins' horrendous offense the last few years, or his perceived lack of maturity.

    After being buried on the depth chart by Mike Shanahan, Thomas is practicing and preparing with a chip on his shoulder according to reports from Redskins Park. With a new offense, quarterback, left tackle, play caller, and head coach maybe Thomas will fit in with the new regime and show people why he was the second wide reciever drafted in the 2008 Draft.