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Friday, April 8, 2011
Breaking down the LBs: Redskins

By Matt Williamson

Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson examines the linebackers of each NFC East team. Today: Washington Redskins.

The Redskins moved to a 3-4 scheme last season, but London Fletcher wasn’t fazed by the scheme change and just kept up his steady pace. He is a true professional and one of the most consistent linebackers of this generation. The Redskins could lose Rocky McIntosh in free agency. McIntosh started next to Fletcher on the inside, and a change of scenery and scheme could do him well, as I think he fits a 4-3 front better than Washington’s 3-4.

On the outside, Brian Orakpo again showed why he can become one of the better pass-rushers in the league, but he wasn’t the same player during the second half of the season. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the problems that Orakpo had versus the run this year. There was little to get excited about opposite Orakpo, and adding another outside linebacker who can get after the quarterback might free Orakpo up to really wreak some havoc. This is a major need.

For the second time in his career, Andre Carter showed that he is not a fit in an odd front. He could be playing elsewhere next season, and for the most part, was replaced by Lorenzo Alexander. A liability as a pass-rusher and in coverage, Alexander is best suited as a backup on the outside and as a core special-teamer rather than in a starting role.

Others worth mentioning are Perry Riley and H.B. Blades on the inside and Chris Wilson and Rob Jackson on the outside. The undersized Blades is an extremely poor-man’s version of Fletcher and had a solid 2009 campaign. Wilson is a pretty good special-teams player and shows promise as a pass-rusher. Jackson could get a chance at more snaps going forward.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.