WASHINGTON (FNN Media) — Like the Washington Redskins as a whole, Adam Carriker saw his numbers trickle off as the season dragged on.
Statistically, his season peaked with a 1.5-sack effort against the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 23.
Certainly continuing at that pace would have been ideal, but Carriker is content with his overall sack total and when he notched them.
“Sacks tend to come in bunches,” Carriker said.
He said it’s uncommon for guys to be able to keep up that pace throughout the year unless their names were Jarred Allen or DeMarcus Ware.
“Home runs tend to come in bunches sometimes for hitters,” he continued. “They’ll go in a slump but then they’ll get hot. It’s just the way the games play out.”
Perhaps his quick start also earned him extra attention from opposing coaches.
“Maybe they did scout me a little more,” he added.
Outside of gruesome blisters on the heels of his feet that developed in training camp, Carriker remained relatively healthy throughout the season. Although, it wasn’t until last week he was able to wear regular shoes again. He had been primarily in sandals until that point as they continued to heal.
The 27-year-old hasn’t missed a single regular season snap due to injury since he’s been in Washington.
Early in the year or not, Carriker was able to disrupt the passer last season—more so than in previous campaigns. He attributes the success to being comfortable in his second season in defensive coordinator Jim Haslett’s 3-4 scheme.
“A lot of times before the play I have a good idea whether it’s run or pass, because I’m comfortable in the defense,” he said.
And while a second season in season in the same scheme paid dividends, so to did a sixth overall season in the league. He’s picking up tips.
“Sometimes I can get a tip as to which way the run is going. Sometimes I can get a tip as to where the slide or protection or extra blocker is going to go. Not all the time, but a good portion of the time. And that’s huge. And that’s just from being familiar in the defense.”
Experience in the league has also bolstered Carriker’s knowledge and comfort level. While there are a wide variances from team to team in schemes and terminology, the former Nebraska Cornhusker said some things are pretty universal.
“A day of the week means something,” he explained. “If they come to the line and say ‘Monday, Monday’ from team to team that usually means something even though it’s a different team with a different offense. It’s usually kind of universal. Things like that allow me to play a lot faster.”
Perhaps the biggest advantage Carriker has at the moment is the belief he’s in the prime of his career.
A lot of the younger guys in the league have “fresher bodies” as he explained, but they don’t necessarily have a grasp of what’s going on. They’re still trying to transition from college to the pros and increase their football IQ.
Older guys, meanwhile, have a firm understanding of the game, but their bodies may no longer perform at high level.
At 27, Carriker is coming into his prime both physically and mentally for the next few years. He’s at an age where his body has not yet betrayed him, while he’s got veteran know how.
But where will that be?
Follow Chuck Carroll on Twitter: @FNNChuck
This is the second in a three-part series featuring free-agent Adam Carriker and his future in Washington.
READ PART 1: FROM HOLD OVER TO NEARLY A PRO BOWLER
READ PART 2: WHY 2011 WAS A SUCCESSFUL SEASON FOR CARRIKER
READ PART 3: WILL HE RETURN TO THE REDSKINS NEXT SEASON?