The Washington Redskins will be thin at the safety position on Sunday with LaRon Landry still sidelined with a strained hamstring and Kareem Moore on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Usual backup Reed Doughty will start at strong safety in place of Landry, and offseason addition Oshiomogho Atogwe plans on playing although he is listed as “questionable” with a hamstring injury on the team’s injury report.
If one of those veterans goes down or needs a breather, rookie safety DeJon Gomes will be ready to take the field and help his team in whatever way possible.
Drafted in the fifth round out of Nebraska, Gomes is coming off of a strong preseason that saw him post a team-high 14 tackles and a sack. And so, the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Hayward, Calif., native and his coaches have confidence that he can get the job done if needs be.
“He’s looked pretty good. We feel good about him,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “He can play both the strong safety and the free safety position. He has a lot of speed and upside. He’s still a rookie, but I think he’s handling everything and he’s very sharp.”
Gomes, meanwhile, isn’t getting overly excited about his NFL debut. He’s eager to play, but he has managed to remain focused on preparing for his assignments rather than focus on the magnitude of possibly playing in the regular season opener.
“My mindset is the same as any other guys in my situation,” Gomes said. “In football, you’re one or two plays away from getting on the field, so you’ve got to prepare like you’re going to be starting and if something does happen, God forbid, then you go out there and do what you’ve done all week in practice. … I know the system pretty well, but there are still things to iron out. [safeties] coach [Steve] Jackson and the other coaches have been teaching me a lot, so it’s been a good experience.”