Rambo has taken all of the first-team snaps at strong safety with Brandon Meriweather suspended for the first two games of the season. After struggling mightily tackling as a rookie, Rambo (naturally a free safety) this offseason has made significant improvements, according to coaches and teammates.
Rambo played extensively at both positions in the preseason, and in Washington’s system, the free safety and strong safety positions are interchangeable depending on motions from the offense. So Haslett believes Rambo will do fine while starting alongside veteran Ryan Clark.
“I’m excited for him. He’s done a great job in the offseason and preparing for this point,” Haslett said. “You kind of know that something’s going to happen during the season because you’ve got to be all hands on deck all the time. He’s done a great job of cutting angles down, tackling, understanding the scheme. Looking forward to seeing him play this week.”
The Redskins on Sunday claimed former Denver starting strong safety Duke Ihenacho off of waivers. But the third-year pro still is learning the defensive schemes, and Haslett said he is in no way ready to step into the starting lineup.
“It’s not that easy,” Haslett said. “It’s a hard position because there are so many things to do, but it seems – the short time I’ve been with him – that he’s a great kid and there’s a lot of carryover from Denver. But I can’t tell you exactly. It seems like he’s a quick learner.”
Haslett’s defense remained without backup cornerback Tracy Porter on Thursday. He has missed all of this week with a strained hamstring. But Haslett said the absence doesn’t throw a kink into his plans. E.J. Biggers has served as the top nickelback since the Redskins began offseason practices, and rookie Bashaud Breeland also could see time in that role here and there, Haslett said.
Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo was limited by a sprained ankle Thursday, but Haslett said he anticipates Orakpo playing without limitations on Sunday.
“I expect him to play, and expect him to play well,” Haslett said. “He usually plays well when he plays.”
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