The Washington Redskins will kick off training camp in Richmond, Virginia on July 25, 2019. That being said, it’s time to take a look at the biggest question marks heading into next season. Today we’ll be taking a look at who will start at safety opposite of Landon Collins.
Who Will Start Opposite of Landon Collins?
The Redskins aggressively pursued and signed one of the top free agents this past offseason when they added safety Landon Collins to their roster. The team was willing to make Collins the highest-paid safety in the history of the league in the process (6 years, 84 million, 45 million guaranteed). While some will argue that the Redskins grossly overpaid, others will point out how hard it has been for the Redskins to secure the position since losing the late Sean Taylor.
Collins is more-known for his ability to play against and stop the run…much has been made about his abilities or inabilities to cover in the open field, primarily agent tight ends. While Washington has several other players that do this already, Collins will be called on in certain situations. All Redskins fans can do is hope he’s better than advertised by some who categorize him as only a “box style” safety and nothing else. Collins insists he’s more than what the “experts” proclaim, “I laugh, honestly, because I’m not just an in-the-box safety,” Collins said at his introductory press conference. “I make plays in the box, yeah, but I make plays also other places. People see me in the box because that’s what teams ask me to do sometimes.”
With Collins in the lineup, the Redskins have one starter locked in. The real question is, who will start at safety opposite of Landon Collins? The answer to that will come at Redskins training camp in just a few weeks…until then, let’s take a look at the options that are available.
In a perfect world, the Redskins would be able to turn to third-year safety Montae Nicholson who showed flashes of what the team is looking for in his rookie season of 2016. Since then, Nicholson (6-2, 216 lbs) has had injury issues and also ran into some off-the-field trouble last year that landed him on the commissioner’s exempt list. Nicholson, when healthy, has the speed and ability to cover a lot of ground in the Redskins secondary. He’s also focused on helping the team out in whatever way he can.
Beyond Montae, the group thins out and gets a little harder to judge based on past experiences. The next man in the rotation would likely be Deshazor Everette. Everette (6-0, 194 lbs) is more of a special teams player who should probably be viewed as Landon’s backup. Truth is, Everette has etched himself a spot on the team as a special teams captain and is pretty good at it. Messing with that chemistry would probably be a mistake for the team, and to be honest, Everette has had his chances to win a starting role the past few years and failed.
Troy Apke (6-1, 201 lbs) is the player that comes to mind on the Redskins roster who would be the next man up Everette. Apke blew the Redskins scouts and upper management’s minds last year during the combine with his performance. While injury limited him in showing his overall abilities during the season, the Redskins remain optimistic that he will be able to contribute. Many experts believe the team overpaid for Apke with the fourth-round pick they used to draft him…the jury is still out on that one.
Washington also signed UDFA safety JoJo McIntosh. McIntosh (6-1, 205 lbs) was a productive player at the University of Washington despite being viewed as having slow game speed. It will interesting to see just how much he can contribute to the team this season.
Looking at the Redskins’ options, Nicholson, Apke, and McIntosh will be battling it out for the vacant free safety position. There have also been whispers that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (6-2, 203 lbs) could be used in spot detail to play in the three-safety set the Redskins often use. Those whispers have led to thoughts that maybe DRC could be an option full-time at the position. At this moment, we’ll just have to treat those thoughts as rumors as, to this point, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden hasn’t mentioned using Cromartie as anything other than a cornerback. DRC does have tons of experience playing alongside Landon Collins, so this could be an interesting situation to keep an eye on…stay tuned!
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