Baccari Rambo (24), here with Brandon Meriweather, spent more time on the sideline in Week 3 than in Weeks 1 or 2. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post) Baccari Rambo (24), here with Brandon Meriweather, spent more time on the sideline in Week 3 than in Weeks 1 or 2. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Rookie free safety Bacarri Rambo said that his demotion in last Sunday’s game came as a surprise, but that he understood coaches’ reasoning. Rambo said that he has no choice but to continue to work hard in practices and try to regain playing time through improved execution, just as coach Mike Shanahan said earlier this week.

Rambo – a sixth-round pick out of Georgia –served as the Redskins’ starting free safety from the start of training camp, throughout the preseason and in the first two games of the regular season. But last Sunday, Rambo didn’t play a single defensive snap as coaches relegated him instead to special teams units. The Redskins spent the bulk of the game playing a four-man secondary that featured three cornerbacks and one safety, Brandon Meriweather. Shanahan said defensive coordinator Jim Haslett went with that configuration because of the Lions’ three-receiver sets and the need to leave more men in the box to stop the run. Shanahan said also that Rambo’s ineffectiveness in the first two weeks – when he struggled with tackling – also had to do with the decision.

Rambo, who played 19 special teams plays, didn’t talk after the game, but said on Wednesday, “I was very surprised, but like I said, it was just based on the personnel and type of offense.” He then admitted that his coaches had also talked to him about his need to improve. After playing every defensive snap in the first two games, Rambo said dealing with the drastic change wasn’t easy.

“It was very difficult, but I just let the coaches coach and I’ll just go out there and do whatever it takes to help the team win,” Rambo said. “If it’s for me to just play special teams, I’ll do it. Other than that, I’m just glad to be there and once I get my chance and my opportunity, I’m going to take advantage of it.”

Rambo said he will not let the benching discourage him. Instead, he just views it as the continuation of his NFL education and adaptation.

“It’s still growing on me still,” he said. “I’m just trying to improve every game. But, the speed of the game, everybody says the SEC is the most NFL-like conference, but naw, it’s not. It’s a whole lot different. I just try to get out there and continue to adapt and continue to grow.”

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesday.

What’s ahead:

● The Redskins are practicing at 1 p.m. today.

More on the Redskins and NFL:

D.C. Sports Bog: Gibbs: ‘It would be wrong to change the name’ More Bog

Signs of progress on offenseExperimenting with kick returners

Hankerson might be winning competition with Morgan | OL Kropog added

Redskins players say actions, not words, matter now

Mailbag: The handling of Griffin, Meriweather’s play and Reed’s potential

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