Free-For-All: Who Will Win The Safety Battle In D.C.?
The battle to start at safety for the Washington Redskins is on. The team currently has seven safeties listed on their roster, but who will get the starting positions? The battle for one safety spot was created when their starter from last year, Madieu Williams, was not brought back this year. The other starting safety spot is up for grabs as well as Reed Doughty started 10 games, while Brandon Meriweather started the only game he was healthy. Here is a look at the top candidates for the two safety spots.
Brandon Meriweather is likely the first choice for one of the safety positions. Although he was injured to start the season and was out for the season after one game, he still holds great potential. In that one game, he had seven combined tackles, two pass deflections and one interception for 25 yards. His career total is 300 combined tackles, five forced fumbles — with one of those fumbles being recovered — and 13 interceptions for 238 yards and a touchdown. The problem is that he is still in rehab and may not be ready for the start of the season; although he is still hoping to be back for training camp.
An option for the other safety spot is Tanard Jackson. He was signed to a one-year contract by the Redskins after 2011, and according to Mark Maske, “Redskins officials have said they’d hoped to have Jackson and Brandon Meriweather as their starters at the two safety spots last season.” He never played for the Redskins last year because he was suspended by the NFL for violating their substance abuse policy. He is eligible to be reinstated in August, and if he is allowed back in the league, the Redskins could choose to have him try to grab the starting position they had penciled him into last offseason.
The other pick would be Reed Doughty. Last season he had 69 combined tackles, zero sacks and one interception starting 10 games for the team. He could be a good fit as a starter because he has proven to be consistent in his performance if Meriweather isn’t healthy. He also could be an option for the other safety spot as well.
If the Redskins do use Meriweather as one safety and prefer Doughty to be a third safety, then it will likely be one of the Redskins two rookies who start at the other safety spot if Jackson is not reinstated by the league or the Redskins decide to part ways with him.
Phillip Thomas was taken in the fourth round by the Redskins in the 2013 NFL draft. Last year, he was voted a first-team All-American by the Associated Press, and was the first player from Fresno State to be an unanimous All-American. He led the NCAA in interceptions with eight, including three for touchdowns.
Another option for a starting safety is rookie Baccari Rambo. He started for the Georgia Bulldogs the last three years. In 2011, he was voted a first-team All-American by the Associated Press after having eight interceptions — good for second most in the NCAA — and 55 tackles. He was taken in the sixth round by the Redskins with the hope he would help strengthen the safety position, but could end up being the starter if he impresses in camp.
Last year, the Redskins safety positions struggled. However, this year is a different story. The Redskins have good options for starters and backups.