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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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August 11, 2008 2:24 PM

Donatell hoping to rotate D-line more

Posted by Bob Condotta

What's a common, and obvious, question for this Washington camp is who will emerge as starters on the defensive line.

But new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell says it's one that may never really have an answer in the conventional sense.

Donatell says his goal is to have enough linemen ready to go that he can rotate liberally up front --- as many as 10 guys at a time if that many show they deserve to play.

"The first thing is, we don't have strings (meaning a first string or second string) on the defensive line,'' he said. "It's how many guys can we get up to the level of playing the game to play. If 10 guys get to that line, then 10 are playing. They are really not competing against anybody. If we can get a guy to come in and take six snaps for you and go 100 percent, then he's playing. I've always felt if you involve more people, it's more fun. They stay stimulated, and then if a guy gets hurt, he's already played. So if he gets up to that line, then he gets to play.''

That doesn't mean there won't be guys who play more than others. Donatell said it's obvious that DE Daniel Te'o-Neshiem, the lone returner with any real experience, will be on the field a lot this year.

But Donatell said he'd even like to rotate there, giving Te'o-Nesheim more rest than he had last season.

"If I could take 10 snaps from him, it would be a wonderful thing,'' Donatell said. "My goal would be to (rest) him more this year, then he'll be more effective because he plays so hard. The key is to get another guy in there who can play a couple of snaps so he can get over there and get rested and then win a third down. That's my (wish) and my intentions.''

And while he'd like to rotate more everywhere on defense, Donatell said it's especially critical up front, meaning the designation of starters is more meaningful in the back seven, where the first unit will stay on the field longer than up front.

"Nothing takes more enegy than rushing the passer,'' he said. "It's a relentless fight that the guys go through. That's why those guys need a break. When you lose your tank, it's empty. If it's empty, it's empty. So you try to forecast (how long) they last.''


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