Ex-Redskin Carter set to face former team
FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (AP)
Andre Carter at end in a 4-3 defense and quarterbacks scramble for
safety. Stick him at linebacker in a 3-4 and Carter heads for a new
A much better player as a lineman, Carter moved to the New England Patriots this season and already has nine sacks. He can
increase that Sunday against his former team, the Washington Redskins.
my whole career, I've always played defensive end,'' he said Wednesday.
''I was just very blessed that the New England Patriots came to me and
said, `this is what we need, this is what we're looking for.' And I was
Carter spent his first five seasons with San Francisco
where the 49ers switched to a 3-4 alignment in his last year, 2005,
under new coach Mike Nolan. The following March, Carter left as an
unrestricted free agent for Washington and its 4-3 setup.
worked well and Carter was coming off his best season with the Redskins
with 11 sacks in 2009. Then, when Mike Shanahan became coach, he
installed the 3-4. That meant Carter, who had played right end most of
his career, would move to left outside linebacker where he was more
involved in covering receivers than in rushing the passer.
was definitely a tough pill to swallow because ... it was actually my
second time doing the position change,'' he said, ''because I did it in
2005 and that's the reason why I came to Washington in '06 to play
defensive end - the irony behind that. But you've got to have a sense
Last season, Carter started just five of the 16
games he played and managed only 2 1-2 sacks. When it ended, he
expected to move on. And he did after becoming an unrestricted free
agent on March 1.
''No sour feelings whatsoever,'' he said. ''It
was just a mutual agreement at the end of the year. We both knew that
this fit wasn't for me and they understood that. And so we shook hands
and parted ways and left on good terms.''
Redskins linebacker Andre Carter (99) signals against the Houston Texans during the first half at FedEx Field.(Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE)
Shanahan called Carter ''the most accountable guy you could be around''
and isn't surprised by his success with the Patriots.
wanted an opportunity to go some place,'' Shanahan said. ''We let him
go just because he was such a class guy. Obviously, he landed in a
great organization and he's doing a great job for them.''
Patriots signed him for his 11th NFL season on Aug. 8 and he's fit in
quite well now that he's starting again at right defensive end.
a very professional guy that's smart, a well-conditioned athlete. He
really works hard at football and things are really falling into place
for him here. I know the 3-4 is probably a tough fit for him,'' New
England coach Bill Belichick said, ''but I think in our system in a
four-man line, he fits right in. He's really done a great job for us. I
think the system is definitely part of it.''
With a long
wingspan and quickness rushing from the edge, Carter has been the
Patriots' most intimidating defensive lineman. He had 8 1-2 sacks in a
five-game span, including four in a 37-16 win over the New York Jets.
But he doesn't have any in the last two games while making a total of
just three tackles.
For Belichick, though, numbers are just part of the story.
sometimes can be a little bit misleading,'' he said. ''What's more
important is their play-to-play consistency and their performance. And
his has been very good. The numbers are there with it, great, but there
are a lot of players that play well on a down-to-down basis that don't
necessarily have the numbers to show for it.''
The numbers for
Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman aren't very good - one of the NFL's
worst passer rating at 69.8, at least one interception in each of the
last eight games and just 10 touchdown passes in nine starts.
A quarterback, who tends to throw risky passes, he has been sacked 18
times, a number Carter would like to increase.
takes a lot to just kind of sling it out, especially when it comes to
the big plays,'' Carter said, ''because some time it may be successful,
but at any given moment when you're trying to win a game you've got to
take a shot. So that's one thing I admire about him.''
Redskins who played with Carter on defense are still with the team. He
credits linebacker London Fletcher with helping him adjust to that
position last season.
On Sunday, though, they'll be opponents.
And Carter doesn't expect to have to remind himself which sideline to
stand on. He'll go to the one where he fits best.
''Strictly Patriots now,'' he said.
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