Chris Baker Wants to be a Redskin
As the Washington Redskins head into free agency in March, the team is at a crossroads on defense. The unit was among the bottom five in the entire league last year in yards and points. The situation was so bad that the team fired all but two of their defensive coaches after the season ended.
Now that the Redskins have replaced the fired coaches, the team’s focus will now shift to players they hope to retain as they begin the much-needed overhaul on defense. One such player, defensive tackle Chris Baker, is hoping to not only return to Washington, but to retire with the Redskins organization. The Hampton graduate is no stranger to a world in which he has no team, after going undrafted in 2009 and bouncing around on the Broncos’ and Dolphins’ practice squads before latching onto the Redskins two years later.
Baker would rather not feel the free agent experience again.
“It’s a little difficult for me being that it is a contract year for me,” Baker said of the season. “But I went out each and every week and put it out all on the line, and hopefully everything works out and I can stay here and be a Redskin and retire a Redskin. But we just don’t know what’s going to happen, we’ll see what happens in this free agency period.”
“I learned [the business] the first day, before I even got to the NFL when I thought I was going to be a draft pick and went undrafted,” Baker said. “I’ve just worked myself up the depth chart each and every year, and just continue to try and improve myself each and every year. Ever since I got a chance, I have shown what type of player I can be. I think I’ve done a really good job over the past couple years and playing at a high level. So we’ll see what happens.”
The last two season Baker has started all 32 games for the Redskins while registering 100 tackles and 9.5 sacks while proving himself to be a major piece of the Redskins front line of defense. Baker was one of the only bright spots this year on a defense that struggled to get off the field on third down and provide a consistent pass rush.
“We just have to fix the little things, people being where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there, making the tackles when supposed to make them, and getting off the field and not allowing teams to drive the ball on us,” Baker said. “On third and long situations, there was too many times where third and 12 and teams would find a way to pick up 14 yards. That’s not always on coaching, just got to get better as individuals and working together, just go out there and making plays.”
Baker enters free agency hoping he’s done enough to return to Washington, but confident that what’s best for his family is directly ahead of him no matter what. “I think I played well this season, and we’ll see what happens,” Baker said. “I would love to stay here as a Redskin, but at the end of the day I have to do what’s best for my family. We’ll see what happens, what the numbers will be, and hopefully I’ll be back.”