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News & Notes: Shanahan Wants a Younger Roster In 2011

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The Redskins began the 2010 campaign as the oldest team in the NFL.

As head coach Mike Shanahan charts a course for 2011, he has made clear that he wants the roster to get younger.

In his season-ending press conference on Monday, Shanahan indicated he would target young, ascending talent rather than aging veterans.

"What we're going to try to do is get the best football players that we feel have character and they're not very old," he said. "We'd like to have guys on the younger side. We want to have people that enjoy playing football and we want to be an organization that is going to give them the best chance to win.

"We'll evaluate it. Number one will be character, besides playing ability, and hopefully some youth."

Starting at the midpoint of last season, the Redskins began to insert young players in the lineup.

Wide receivers Anthony Armstrong and Terrence Austin, running backs Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams, guard Kory Lichtensteiger and tight end Logan Paulsen were among young players on offense seeing action.

On defense, defensive lineman Jeremy Jarmon, linebackers Rob Jackson and Perry Riley, cornerback Byron Westbrook and cornerback-turned-safety Kevin Barnes played key roles.

They join Brian Orakpo and Trent Williams, the Redskins' top draft picks the last year, to form a talented corps of young players.

The Redskins can add more youth to the roster via the NFL Draft this year, plus there may be a huge free agent class of players with expiring rookie contracts.

At Redskins Park, coaches are spending this first week of the offseason evaluating the talent on the roster.

Shanahan said he was focused on developing depth as well as a talented starting lineup.

"The thing I'm excited about is I know where our team is at, relative to the talent and position needs, at least thus far," Shanahan said. "I'm looking forward to having a couple more weeks of evaluation and put together a game plan that puts the best team together. That takes a lot of evaluation.

"There are 400 free agents out there. We're trying to sign a lot of our players that are free agents as well. Hopefully we'll get them back on our team. There are some role players. There are some backup players who are a tremendous help on our football team because they can help us on special teams as well.

"So it's not always the starters that are important. It's backup players with the right character that you know give you a chance to win down the line."


-- EVALUATING THE ROSTER

It'll be long hours for Redskins coaches the next two weeks as they evaluate the roster, position by position, player by player.

In his season-ending press conference on Monday, Mike Shanahan went into detail on how coaches are evaluating the roster.

"The coaches will write up their position players, and they will put them in a pecking order, with strengths, weaknesses, starters, backups, ascending player, descending player," he said. "And then the offensive coaches will look at the defensive team and the defensive coaches will look at the offense.

"For example, the defensive line coach will evaluate the offensive line, and they'll look at all 16 games, just as he does during the season looking at opposing offensive lines. He'll write up each one of those players as he sees them, without getting into personalities. We do that at all of the different positions.

"The coordinators will look at the scheme, Kyle [Shanahan] looking at the defense and Jim [Haslett] looking at the offense and different ways they would attack the scheme and looking at the strengths and weaknesses that they see as coordinators.

"So we write up every player on both sides of the ball. And then we start to get into unrestricted free agents, we get a list there. And then after we finish that we start looking toward the draft choices."


-- OFF-SEASON SURGERIES

Mike Shanahan has announced that five players have been scheduled for surgery this week.

Tight end Chris Cooley underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Monday.

On Tuesday, defensive end Kedric Golston had hernia surgery and safety Kareem Moore had arthroscopic knee surgery.

Center Casey Rabach was scheduled for shoulder surgery on Thursday.

And safety LaRon Landry was scheduled for shoulder surgery at the end of the week.

Golston, Moore and Landry each finished the season on injured reserve. (Landry was sidelined due to an Achilles injury.)

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