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Kemoeatu thinks he's still in Redskins' plans

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Posted March 15, 2011 @ 9:25 a.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

One of the Redskins' main goals this offseason will be to remake the defense, which lacked some of the core parts to operate in a 3-4 alignment last season and took a big step backward in 2010 in the rankings.

A key target position appears to be nose tackle, which wasn't a productive spot last season. Once it was clear Albert Haynesworth wasn't a good fit there, the opportunity turned to Ma'ake Kemoeatu, who also struggled coming back from an Achilles tear the year prior. It turned out that journeyman Anthony Bryant was the team's best option there, although he was only slightly better than average.

There had been rumors than when the team recently released RB Clinton Portis, others — including Kemoeatu — might be following shortly thereafter in the unemployment line.

PFW spoke with Kemoeatu recently at the Ed Block Courage Awards last week and asked him about his future with the team.

"I have one more year left on my deal," Kemoeatu told PFW. "I expect to be back next season."

Kemoeatu said he had spoken with head coach Mike Shanahan and hadn't gotten the impression that he'd be released anytime soon. He also said he feels good and that the injury shouldn't affect him this upcoming season.

"I'm ready to go," he said. "No problems. I feel good."

The Redskins have been doing their homework on the draft's best nose tackle prospects, including Baylor's Phil Taylor, who appears the biggest and best fit at that spot. Although Taylor's stock might be rising a bit, taking him with the 10th pick would be a major reach, according to draft observers.

Besides, although the Redskins are running a 3-4 scheme, which classically asks its nose tackles to clog up running lanes and demands the taking on of double-teams, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett might be seeking a more athletic candidate for the spot than Taylor. Some 3-4 teams, such as the Packers with B.J. Raji, have had success with more mobile performers playing in the middle.

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