As has been the case so many times during the past few years, when one player goes down, Reed Doughty is ready to step up.

“That’s what they signed me to do,” said Doughty, the sixth-year safety. “That’s what I knew I was coming back for.”

LaRon Landry says he’ll miss Sunday’s season opener against the New York Giants, which means Doughty will get the start at strong safety. Doughty is rarely pegged as the preseason starter, but always seems to find a way into the lineup. Last year, he started nine games total, most when Landry went on injured reserve with his Achilles injury. This year, it’s a hamstring that will keep Landry off the field to start the season.

Like so many players on the defensive side of the ball, Doughty thinks Year 2 in Jim Haslett’s system will yield huge improvements for him.

“Just more comfortable,” he said. “I can feel it. It feels second nature. I’m paying attention to what the offense is doing, what the reads are doing -- not figuring out exactly my technique and where I’m supposed to end up. I’m definitely more comfortable.”

He’ll be lined up alongside newcomer Oshiomogho Atogwe, who will be making his Redskins debut in the defensive backfield Sunday. Though he was slowed in the preseason by a sore hamstring of his own, Atogwe doesn’t expect anything to hold him back Sunday.

“I don’t really believe in going out there unless you’re 100 percent,” Atogwe said. “So come Sunday, I’m not preparing to be rusty. I’m preparing to play at the highest level possible.”

Doughty and Atogwe isn’t exactly the backfield tandem that Redskins’ fans have been salivating over. But it’s going to be at least one more week before Atogwe can be paired with Landry.

“When he’s ready to get on the field, it’s going to be something to see,” Atogwe said.