Redskins look to improve production at safety
On an improved defense last season, the Washington Redskins’
safety play was still a weak link.
Strong side starter LaRon Landry never truly recovered from the
Achilles injury that ended his 2010 season prematurely, and
newcomer Oshiomogho Atogwe was often ailing and wasn’t the
playmaker he had been during his best years with the St. Louis
Exit Landry and Atogwe. Enter free agents Brandon Meriweather,
Madieu Williams and Tanard Jackson.
The 28-year-old Meriweather was a Pro Bowl player in New England
in 2009 and 2010. He was let go by the Patriots last summer and not
re-signed by Chicago this winter because of his often undisciplined
Now he is trying to teach his new teammates to keep their
feelings in check.
When Brandon Banks couldn’t hold a pass along the sideline early
during Tuesday’s practice and kicked the ball into the crowd in
frustration, Meriweather scolded him, saying, ”Control your
emotions. That’s 15 yards.”
The 30-year-old Williams, a seven-year regular with Cincinnati
and Minnesota, was a backup last year in San Francisco and might no
longer be considered starter material by many teams.
The 27-year-old Jackson was suspended twice for a total of 20
games for multiple failed drug tests while with Tampa Bay, which
cut him in April.
”We always joke with each other that we got a secondary full of
misfits,” said cornerback DeAngelo Hall. ”We got guys that I feel
like nobody else wanted in this league. We might look bad on paper
and guys might rank us bad. But at the end of the day, you got to
go out and play, and we definitely feel like we’re ready to
Last year’s safeties – Landry, Atogwe, longtime backup Reed
Doughty and rookie DeJon Gomes – combined for just three
interceptions (all by Atogwe).
”We held our own, but there could have been a higher level of
play, for sure,” said Doughty, who started a career-high 11 games
in 2011 and is the only one of the current safeties who was in
Washington before last year. ”We need to make more plays on the
That’s what the Redskins (No. 25 in the AP Pro32) expect from
Meriweather, Jackson and Williams, who combined for 10
interceptions in 2009, the last season in which all three were
”We’ve got a bunch of playmakers back there,” Hall said.
”T-Jack is a physical guy. I’m looking at him like, `You’re
smaller than me,’ but somehow he sticks his head in there. He’s
always there to make a play. Brandon is probably the most complete
of all of `em. He’s a guy that’ll fill a hole (against the
Hall said he had talked to former Redskins cornerback Carlos
Rogers, now with the 49ers, about Williams.
”`Los loved him to death,” Hall said, ”and I feel the same
way about the guy.”
Williams has been working with the starters because Jackson
missed time in the spring recovering from knee and shoulder
injuries and started training camp on the physically unable to
perform list. He’ll return to action Thursday.
”It’s a setback, but we’ve got a lot of opportunities to get
out there and still compete,” Jackson said. ”We’ve all got chips
on our shoulders, so the Redskins are going to get the best out of
all of us.”
Notes: Practice was halted about two thirds of the way through
because of thunder and lightning. It finished in the team’s new
bubble, the first such transfer in Redskins history. … There was
no update on right tackle Jammal Brown, who was supposed to see his
personal doctor late Tuesday about his chronically ailing left hip
that has him on the physically-unable-to-perform list. … Fullback
Darrel Young and receiver Josh Morgan didn’t practice because of
strained hamstrings sustained on Monday. Redskins coach Mike
Shanahan expects Young to miss a week or two, and Morgan to be out
a couple of days.
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and