For consistency, inside linebacker London Fletcher is second to none on Washington’s roster. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall has a flair for the dramatic, “but 30 [Landry] . . . 30 is a killer,” Hall said. “There just aren’t a lot of guys like 30 around the league.”
Starting for Landry against the Giants, backup safety Reed Doughty had a rough opening half. During the first quarter, Doughty was burned in coverage on a 68-yard pass play from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. One play later, the Giants took a 7-0 lead on Manning’s two-yard touchdown run.
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On a six-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, running back Ahmad Bradshaw went past Doughty, who got caught leaning in the wrong direction after guessing incorrectly on the Giants’ play call.
“People can’t blame Reed for that stuff,” Landry said. “I don’t know if I make those [plays].”
Doughty is a core special teams player. With Landry sidelined, he handled his responsibility on special teams and played every defensive snap. Doughty is a smart, solid player. There are guys like him on winning teams throughout the league.
Doughty, though, is a backup. He plays behind Landry because the guy ahead of him is much better. Washington lacks quality depth in key areas. That’s just a fact. Upgrading the talent takes time when there are 53 spots to fill.
The Steelers’ secondary likely wouldn’t be as good if Polamalu needed time off. Green Bay’s pass rush works best when outside linebacker Clay Matthews plays because “when you have guys who are playmakers, like 30, in the lineup, it’s just different,” special teams captain Lorenzo Alexander said. “LaRon has great range. His mentality is to seek and destroy.
“And when you have that in the run game, he’s gonna go in there and blow up a lot of things. He’ll make a lot of plays near the line and behind it. Then on the back end [in the secondary], people are scared. You’ve got him back there, lurking. You get a receiver who comes across the middle, he’s thinking about 30. They know they better be ready. He’s just such a big factor for us.”
Landry is vital to the Redskins. They need him to return soon. His presence could determine just how many strides the Redskins will make this season.