The Redskins were plagued by a long list of injuries last season, which challenged head coach Mike Shanahan to field a healthy and competitive roster.
After a long offseason of rehabilitation, Baker has become one of the popular players to watch in training camp.
Baker didn’t exhibit any reservation about his knee during last Thursday’s game against the Bills, which he said was a relief.
“I felt great. My legs were up under me, I felt powerful,” Baker said. “It just felt good to be back on the field.”
The biggest series for the defensive line came on a goal line-stand late in the second quarter. The Bills ran six offensive plays inside the 5-yard line, and the defense helding, forcing a field goal try.
Baker was on the field for the stand, and said the game plan was very simple: don’t get pushed back.
“As a D-lineman, you just want to stay low and power through the guy, and that’s exactly what happened,” he said. “We just stayed low and were determined not to let them score.”
Taking advantage of opportunities is the key to earning a roster spot on a unit that returns all three starters from a year ago.
“There’s a lot of competition,” Baker explained. “We’re deep at every position, so there’ a lot of competition every day. You’ve got to bring your best.”
Baker’s versatility isn’t going unnoticed and should help him fight for more playing time. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett thinks Baker has the ability play defense end as well as nose tackle.
“He has great power. I think he’s really matured since last year, unbelievably so,” Haslett said about Baker. “I still think he has a ways to go in learning the scheme and techniques. But he’s got a lot of the little attributes you look for, that the great ones have.”
Regardless of where he lines up, Baker knows what it takes to earn opportunities in the future.
“Just keeping working hard and doing the same thing I’ve been doing since camp started.”