Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said that if strong safety LaRon Landry can’t play on Sunday because of a sore left Achilles’ tendon, rookie DeJon Gomes will start in his place. And if knee and toe injuries keep free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe sidelined for a second straight week, veteran Reed Doughty will get the nod again as Washington faces the Miami Dolphins.
Haslett said there also is a chance that the Redskins will activate safety Kareem Moore from the Physically Unable to Perform list, where he has spent the entire season while working his way back from knee surgery. If that happens, Haslett said Moore will serve as a backup to Doughty and Gomes.
Neither Landry nor Atogwe practiced on Wednesday, and their status for Thursday was in doubt.
Landry said Thursday morning that he hopes to play Sunday. But Haslett wouldn’t speculate on the fifth-year LSU product’s availability.
“I’m not a doctor, so I don’t even try to analyze that stuff,” the coach said. “I coach the guys that are available. If he’s available, we’ll get him ready to go. If not, we’ll put the next guy in and we’ll be fine.”
Gomes, whom Washington drafted in the fifth round out of Nebraska, has appeared in seven games this season and has two tackles. He has the versatility to play either free or strong safety, and splits time between the two spots in practice. He said he is ready if coaches call upon him.
“I’m just taking the same approach that I’ve had all season because really, we’ve had banged-up safeties all year and I’ve just been one play away,” the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Gomes said. “So I’ll just keep working hard in practice. … Any time you can get 10 weeks of practice, you’re going to get that much more experience in practice and knowledge from your teammates and coaches. So I’ll be a lot more ready than what I would have if I was called on in Week 1.”
Atogwe, whom Washington signed as a free agent this offseason, missed the Week 6 game against Philadelphia with the knee injury. The seventh-year Stanford product played the following week against Buffalo, but injured his toe and didn’t practice all of last week.
“It’s been a real struggle for me,” Atogwe said of being injured. “It’s a time where I have to exercise patience and trust God and what he’s trying to do with my body. I really want to be out there, helping the guys, just serving and helping wherever I can to turn this thing around. When I can’t it’s a real struggle.”