Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo

Redskins.com: Safeties Want Hard Hits to Be a Staple


Recommended Posts


Safeties Want Hard Hits to Be a Staple


By Gary Fitzgerald


Many of the NFL’s Pro Bowl safeties, from John Lynch to Darren Woodson to Brian Dawkins, have reputations as hard hitters and solid tacklers. The Redskins' group of safeties—which includes Matt Bowen, Ifeanyi Ohalete, David Terrell and Andre Lott—hope to elevate themselves into that elite group.

"We need our safeties to be hard hitters," said Bowen, who arrived in Washington from Green Bay as a restricted free agent last offseason. "I think we need to be intimidating and let people know that when they catch the ball, they're going to get hit."

Bowen and Ohalete have emerged as the starters heading into the final pre-season game against Jacksonville on Thursday night. Terrell, the Redskins' starting free safety the last two years, also had a solid training camp. He struggled in the Aug. 23 pre-season game against New England, however. He slipped in coverage, allowing David Patten's 85-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

That mistake aside, Terrell agrees with Bowen that the Redskins' secondary needs to be aggressive this year.

“I’m trying to become a better player in terms of being more physical,” he said. “It sends a message to the opposition when they know there’s a guy out there in the secondary who can lay a good, clean hit on you.”

Coaches often frown on physical play during practice sessions—as was the case during the first week of training camp when Bowen laid a heavy hit on running back Trung Canidate during a draw play.

Said Bowen, when discussing the hit on Canidate: "That's just part of the game. It was nothing intentional. We came in together and we just happened to collide."

Still, the hit raised the stakes in the competition at safety. Later in practice, Terrell registered two interceptions during a scrimmage.

“Hard hits—that’s a part of competition,” Terrell said. “Obviously you’ve got to pick your hits. You’re not trying to hurt the competition. But you’re trying to let the coaches know—as well as the rest of the NFL—that you’re a physical player.”

Added Bowen: “When you have the type of players that you have on this defense, we want to be physical. We want to be one of the top defenses in the league. And it starts with hitting. That’s what you do on defense and we’ve got some boys that can hit. It’s a good unit.”

Ohalete and Terrell are two of several veteran defenders—including Champ Bailey, LaVar Arrington and Bruce Smith—who are benefiting from stability on the coaching staff this year. When Marvin Lewis, last year’s defensive coordinator, moved on to coach in Cincinnati, George Edwards took over the reins of the defense in Washington.

Edwards, who served as linebackers coach in 2002, has not promised the starting safety positions to anyone just yet.

“All of the safeties have worked hard,” Edwards said. “Right now we’re just using different combinations at the position. We’re in a competitive and evaluation stage right now.”

Added Terrell: “I think competition is what preseason is for. No one should just be given a position. All four years that I’ve been in the NFL, I’ve had to fight for a job. And I don’t expect this year to be any different.”

Ohalete emerged as the starter at free safety after Terrell's slip in coverage in the New England game.

The three-year veteran, who joined the Redskins as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2001, believes he has improved his game every year since he's joined the league.

"I'm a little more disciplined, and I'm not making as many mental errors as I did last year," he said. "Last year, I gambled a bit more. This year, I'm trying to focus more on letting plays come to me instead of chasing plays. Getting a year of experience and playing time has helped slow the game down for me and helped me be a little more focused on my job."

Along with competing for playing time, the three safeties have their eyes on a successful regular season that starts on September 4 against the New York Jets on national television.

“I’m ready to get the season started and see what type of team we have,” Terrell said. “We’re going to focus on winning the division, then we’ll take on the next challenge in the playoffs.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by blakman211

Has anybody seena nything from Matt Bowen cause he's been invisible to me...

Yeah, Bowen has been invisible and Terrell has been far too visible. This is still a problem area until proven otherwise, as far as I'm concerned. If I could cut one player from the team, it would be Terrell. He is so afraid of making mistakes now that he doesn't seem to be sure about anything he does on the field. He even made wishy-washy statements about hitting in this article. It's as if he has to make sure that he's not making a mistake before he hits somebody. I doubt that he really wants to. Ronnie Lott he is not. Look for more of the same (uncertainty and mental errors) from Terrell this year. IMHO, the Skins should pick up another safety, if possible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“I’m trying to become a better player in terms of being more physical,” he said. “It sends a message to the opposition when they know there’s a guy out there in the secondary who can lay a good, clean hit on you.”

terrell you have to get close to the guy to be physical with him. step 1 work on being a part of the play.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bowen was nowhere to be found in run support against NE. In fact I don't remember seeing much of #41 in any of the first 3 games.

Ohalete had a nice hit in the Ravens game.

Terrell has been what he ALWAYS has been, a positional player who does not bring much in the way of a physical presence to the playing field.

He usually is in the right place at the right time but seems to allow himself to get taken out of plays at the last moment.

On one play he had his man covered but looked back for the ball over the wrong shoulder and the receiver caught the ball and was able to make a first down.

If he had kept himself between the defender and the ball and just gotten his hands up the reception would never have been made.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Terrell and Smoot for that matter both come from the Dion Sanders School of talk loud, try for the interception and get burned in the process. Both of these guys cannot tackle and find themselves completely out of position when a big play comes their way. I wonder if Smoot knows that when they say his name over the loud speaker they are really booing him and not just saying "Smoooot".

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...