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Landry Will Just Play “Safety” In 2010

Earlier this off season here at Redskins Gab, we had been discussing the differences in the strong safety / free safety positions and why LaRon Landry is perhaps better suited for a more in-the-box strong safety position after bouncing around between the two assignments for the past few years.  And it seems Landry himself thinks that he is better suited for a strong safety position, and indicated to reporters that he’ll be “in the box a little bit more” this year.  He’s also bulked up to 240 pounds.

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett eschews the notion, however. Here is a quote from the Redskins Blog:

“In our scheme we don’t have a strong and free. We have a left and right, open and closed. You can call it what you want. They have to know both spots because of motions and shifts. You can call it strong, free, it doesn’t really make a difference. They will all be in the box. They will all be in space. They will all blitz. They will all do a number of different things.”

This ‘improvement’ seems to be consistent with what the coaches are asking of their players on offense as well — a more complex and holistic approach to designing schemes.  Everyone needs to know at all times what is happening because it’s going to be flexible enough to be deceptive at any given moment depend on what the other team is showing.  In terms of a mindset it just sounds much more aggressive doesn’t it?  Landry seems to think so:

“I don’t wanna be put in a position like I was in last year. It wasn’t — I can’t say it was the defensive scheme or anything like that — but I was free safety, more of a ‘savior’ of the defense, and my gameplay is more an aggressive-type style. And bein’ free safety, you’ve really gotta sit back and let things come to you, but in the defense this year, I’m down in more action.”

Everyone is so focused on the Redskins offense right now, and who wouldn’t with the signing of McNabb, Johnson, Parker, etc?  ANY improvement at this point is guaranteed with the roster moves made in the last month alone, basically.

But here’s the kicker, if Shanahan and Haslett can improve the defense from where it was last year that will truly be the definitive step forward that will cement a playoff shot for the Redskins.  It’s not ALL about offense afterall.  Sometimes a team that is firing on all cylinders on the offense side of the ball will find they can only go as far as the defense takes them.

Haslett said this on Landry’s role in the defense:

“I think you have to put him in the right spot. He is so, so fast that he doesn’t know how to temper his speed. The guy is unbelievably fast, and I think once we can harness that a little bit and get him to take some better angles, I think he is going to be a better football player. The scheme will help him and some of the things we will do will help him. He’s a talented kid, he really is. He has unbelievable speed. If we can take advantage of it and use it right, I think it will be to his best advantage and to ours. It will help us win more games.”

You know, Jim Zorn was correct in that regard — winning consistently in the NFL is very very hard to do.  But it seems like the coaches and front office this year are dead set on making sure the players that want to win have every opportunity to get their reps in with the new schemes on offense, and perhaps most importantly – on defense as well.

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