Passed over for playing time in three consecutive games, rookie free safety Bacarri Rambo received a chance to redeem himself last Sunday and responded with a performance that drew praise from his head coach and defensive coordinator.
Rambo, who started the first two games of the season before getting benched in Week 3 and placed on the inactive list the last two games, returned to action with Washington’s safety ranks thinned by suspension and injury.
With Brandon Meriweather serving a one-game suspension and Reed Doughty sidelined with a concussion, Rambo dressed for the first time since Week 4. E.J. Biggers and Jose Gumbs started at safety. But Gumbs sprained an ankle early in the game, and Rambo took his place.
Rambo, who had struggled with tackling in his early-season outings, did better against the Broncos. The NFL’s stat keepers credited him with nine tackles, which ranked second on the team.
“He had an excellent game,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. “Gumbs went out, he came in, took advantage of his opportunity. That’s what you want. You could see that he was a different player going out there tackling — more of a sense of urgency. You can tell that if he does get on special teams, if he works his way up to special teams, he’s going to play with a chip on his shoulder. Sometimes it takes a guy not being up for a game or two to understand how important it is for him to play. The thing I like about Bacarri is he stepped up and played at the level where he’ll get a chance to play again.”
Said defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, “I thought he did a nice job. For the game, he had one missed tackle, which is outstanding and he had 12 tackles in the game [according to the coaches’ film review]. … You can see he’s got his confidence back after that game and the way he practiced yesterday. I was proud of the way he played.”
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Rambo last week described the inactivity as “miserable,” but said that he was determined to remain upbeat and ready for his next opportunity. Rambo said that after spending five games on the sideline, he returned to game action with a greater clarity and sense of urgency.
“I felt like I was ready. I felt prepared — tried to go out there and do the best I could do,” he said. “I just felt more experienced. I felt like the game slowed down a lot for me. Just stayed in the game plan, balled out. I just wanted to do better and set myself as a better tackler. I wanted to show them I’m a better tackler, and prove to them I deserve more playing time.”
Meriweather and Doughty are expected to return to action this week, and Rambo doesn’t know what this week’s plans for him consist of. But for whatever action he does see, he hopes to continue to develop and prove himself.
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● News from Kyle Shanahan’s conference with reporters.
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