Secondary eager to see some Moore
With top free safety Kareem Moore expected to see his first action of the season, the Washington Redskins will enter Sunday's game at St. Louis with a defensive backfield many have been waiting to see since the offseason. Others have been waiting even longer.
A sixth-round draft pick in 2008, Moore was a little-used reserve whose playing time mostly came on special teams. While he has just two career starts, teammates have seen his athleticism shine in practice and thought he would be an ideal complement to strong safety LaRon Landry.
"Unfortunately, some of the coaches in the past couldn't see it," cornerback Carlos Rogers said. "But he got his opportunity this year. There's a lot of change around here, and he took advantage of it."
The current staff has envisioned Moore and Landry patrolling the backfield since offseason workouts, when Moore quickly separated himself from the other safeties. But Moore suffered a knee injury in the preseason game against Baltimore and had arthroscopic knee surgery Aug. 23.
While Landry has had an impressive start to the season, Moore has watched from the side as the Washington defense has struggled. The Redskins rank last in the league, giving up an average of 453 yards per game, more than Baltimore's and Tennessee's defenses combined. No other team has given up more first-down plays. The 38 passing first downs the Redskins have allowed is 17 more than the league average. And only the Houston Texans have allowed more passing yards per game.
"All day and night, it's killing me," Moore said. "I just want to go out there and play, get out there with the guys."
Coaches hope that adding Moore to the mix will change the secondary's fortunes, beginning this weekend.
"People want to talk about what me and Sean [Taylor] would have done, how we played," Landry said recently. "I think me and Kareem can do some stuff out there. I think we can make some stuff happen."
While Moore has watched, Landry has turned in a pair of strong games. He leads the NFL with 28 tackles (the team's film review credits him with 31). Two of those tackles are for losses, plus he has four quarterback hurries and a sack.
Moore is the only natural free safety on the roster. While Reed Doughty has posted 18 tackles in two games (according to the coaches' film), the free safety position requires more athleticism. Houston wide receiver Andre Johnson had no trouble leaping over Doughty last Sunday to catch a game-tying pass in the end zone.
"Kareem can run sideline to sideline," Rogers said. "He's a faster guy. He's smart back there. He's an athletic guy. So it gives us an advantage to play a lot more different defenses."
Because Moore is so quick, the Redskins should be able to disguise their defenses more this week. Prior to a snap, Moore can lurk around the line of scrimmage before dropping back into position as the play begins. Facing a rookie quarterback such as the Rams' Sam Bradford, those disguises could prove to be essential.