Over the offseason, the Washington Redskins overhauled their safety position.
O.J. Atogwe was released and no effort was made to retain oft-injured safety LaRon Landry. By May, the Redskins would add veteran free agents Brandon Meriweather, Tanard Jackson and Madieu Williams to a group that already included holdovers DeJon Gomes and Reed Doughty.
Meriweather already has locked down the strong safety job and Doughty is viewed as a versatile backup. That leaves Jackson, Williams and Gomes competing for the starting free safety position. Though Jackson played for current Redskins defensive backs coach Raheem Morris with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and is the more athletic of the two players, Williams is more experienced.
Williams was a full-time starter in the NFL from 2004 through 2010 before spending last season in mostly a reserve with the San Francisco 49ers. Nothing will be decided until training camp, but Williams' communication skills appears to give him the edge, Mike Jones of The Washington Post reported Thursday.
"Madieu is really, really smart. He kind of runs the show back there," defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "I think heâs on top of it. Heâs kind of like having a coach on the field. Heâs also got good ball skills. He can run well."
"(Jackson) really is athletic," Haslett said. "... You know, we just havenât had him long because of the injury. He had the knee and the shoulder, so heâs probably the furthest behind all of them right now. And I think (Gomes), I know heâs not an addition, but I think heâs really, for a guy that we stuck in there at the end of the year, heâs really grown up and weâre excited about him. And obviously Reed is steady-Eddie, heâs done a great job. But I think itâs great competition."