First-year Redskins nose tackle Terrance Knighton said opposing offensive lines will have to deal with a Washington defense that is fast and aggressive.*
As Terrance Knighton prepares for his first season with the Redskins, he's looking for two things: confidence and chaos.
The nose tackle affectionately known as "Pot Roast" credits his time playing with Peyton Manning with showing him just how important it is to have a confident quarterback on your team. He says he has reiterated this to Robert Griffin III, encouraging the fourth-year quarterback to be a presence in the locker room this season and not just one of the guys.
Knighton believes that if your quarterback is great, it requires everyone around him to be great as well.
"The team goes as far as the quarterback goes," Knighton said. "You could have a great defense, you could have a great O-line, good receivers, but if the quarterback's not out there leading the charge, you won't be successful. It's a lot of pressure but he wouldn't be our starting quarterback if he couldn't do that."
In terms of the rebuilt Redskins defensive line, Knighton attributes their depth to the versatility that they bring to the field.
"We're very deep," he said. "I think what makes us unique is that everyone brings something different to the group."
He notes that with "savvy veterans" like Jason Hatcher and Kedric Golston and the "explosive" Stephen Paea taking the field for the Redskins, opposing offensive lines will be left not knowing what's coming at them next.
"When different guys are out there, you're going to get different things," Knighton said. "We'll have a wave of guys during the game and during practice, and it gives the O-line trouble because they never get the same thing over and over."
Individually, Knighton said he brings elite foot and hand speed for a man his size (6 foot 3, 354 pounds), and said he is still reaping the benefits of his background as a multiple-sport athlete in high school, when he was an All-State wide receiver.
Never satisfied, however, Knighton has been watching film of players like Vince Wilfork, Casey Hampton, Jamal Williams and Shaun Rogers, each of whom excel with their foot and hand speed against some of the better offensive linemen in the NFL.
The Redskins' defense this training camp has focused on changing things up, taking an approach that Knighton describes as "organized chaos." With their self-proclaimed nickname "Capital Punishment," the defense is focused on becoming a disruptive force.
"Everyone's in the right place but it's just like maniacs – all 11 maniacs – running to the ball," Knighton said. "That's the mentality that we're going to have and that's what we're out there practicing – everyone getting to the ball and everybody being disruptive."
Across the line of scrimmage, Knighton sees a Redskins offensive line that he describes as confident and getting everything in-sync under first-year coach Bill Callahan.
"Trent [Williams] and Kory [Lichtensteiger] are going to lead that group. Right now, I think they are building to all be on the same page," Knighton said. "Obviously, with the new coach, they probably have the hardest practice out of any group. They are the first group out there and that's what you expect from the O-line. You expect them to be the hard-nosed group, the blue-collar group."
Ultimately, Knighton realizes that both sides have to work together to make the team the best it can be as a whole in 2015.
"We have a good group. They have a good group. As long as we are handling our business in the trenches, it will make everybody's job easier," he said.