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Posted at 05:14 PM ET, 03/04/2011

Atogwe signing bolsters Skins

Chalk one up for the Redskins.

As time passed and a lockout neared, I was beginning to wonder whether they would make any moves before a work stoppage.

It happened yesterday. The Redskins signed Oshiomogho Isaac "O. J." Atogwe, formerly of the Saint Louis Rams, a true free safety.

This defense has some holes that need to be filled if it is to improve from last year. With an injury-ravaged secondary, free safety became a big issue for Jim Haslett's 3-4 defense.

Kevin Barnes stepped in and played well late in the season, maybe well enough to continue on as a free safety, even though his natural position is corner. That would provide much needed depth at the position. Now having such an intelligent player in Atogwe, Barnes will be able to benefit by learning from a proven veteran at the position.

Adding Atogwe provides a smart and athletic ball player with whom Haslett is very familiar. Haslett coached Atogwe when he was defensive coordinator for the Rams.

Free safeties need to be able to direct traffic and cover space well. Atogwe is more than capable of taking on these responsibilities. Atogwe was used more like a strong safety in Saint Louis, which meant playing him in the box, closer to the line, which didn't favor his skill set.

I'm sure that's why Washington was so attractive, because those are the duties of one Laron Landry, who in my opinion may have been the best strong safety in the game until his injury last season. With Landry's presence in the box and Atogwe roaming back off the box, this could be a tandem that potentially could be as effective as what the Redskins tried to do with Sean Taylor and Landry.

Atogwe's strengths exist within his ability to roam in the secondary. Adding him to DeAngelo Hall at corner may create a spike in the interceptions column.

This was a signing for a reported $26 million over five years. I like the signing and the numbers are reasonable for a player who could vastly improve the secondary.

Now the next step should be to find a nose tackle who is an impact player. If the Redskins find a monster for the center of that defense, whatever pieces are left to be found should fall into place much more easily.

There has been all kinds of talk surrounding the single man wrecking crew named Albert Haynesworth. At least in the midst of all that drama a solid signing was done. It may be the only signing by the Redskins until the draft.

By  |  05:14 PM ET, 03/04/2011

 
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