And while the Redskins continue to address the problems of a unit that finished second to last in passing yards allowed per game in 2010, the main question is whether the personnel changes will produce any differences this season.
“Oh gosh, that’s a good question,” said defensive backs coach Bob Slowik. “So much is unknown right now, since we had nothing in the offseason. We’ve had only three practices. Their heads are still swimming as far as assignments, let alone being able to go out and make plays.”
Cornerback DeAngelo Hall, a mainstay of the Redskins’ secondary over the last three seasons, has “flashed like he always does,” but aside from the three-time pro-bowler, Slowik said the secondary is still learning. That includes third-year cornerback Kevin Barnes, who may get an opportunity to compete for the third cornerback spot while conerback Phillip Buchanon serves a four game suspension. In addition to learning with the young players, Atogwe, in his seventh season in the league, should add his veteran leadership to a young secondary.
O.J. is “gonna be hopefully somebody back there to bring some more experience to the secondary with Laron [Landry], so that’s going to be a major factor for us,” Slowik said. “And there’s some new guys that we have to get worked in.”
Wilson, who signed a three-year deal worth $13.5 million with the Redskins, is expected to practice with the team for the first time Thursday.
“Obviously, he’s somebody that we wanted or else he wouldn’t be here,” Slowik said of Wilson. “Hopefully, he’s going to really help us on that right side.”
Wilson, who has been taking mental reps on the sidelines, will be thrown into the mix as the projected starter opposite Hall. It’s not the way Slowik would prefer to operate this summer’s training camp, where many of the players are learning the secondary’s plays for the first time. But the defensive backs coach is doing his best to prepare his unit to improve from last season’s dismal showing..
Training camp is “going all right,” Slowik said. “We’re just catching up after all the time we missed in the offseason, so it’s a little hectic.”