RICHMOND — Standing in the red zone during Day 4 of training camp, Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger barked at his teammates, both offensive and defensive. The expletive-filled rants were intended to fire up his fellow defenders and to send a message to the offense. 

“The offense and defense, you don’t have to like each other during camp,” Swearinger said. “We shouldn’t like each other during camp.”

On one play, he jumped in to back up Montae Nicholson after his fellow safety got into it with running back Byron Marshall. This might become a usual occurrence in the upcoming season. 

According to Coach Jay Gruden, Swearinger and Nicholson are on the fast track to start for the Redskins this season — something that provides Gruden with some comfort surrounding that position.

“We’re excited,” Gruden said. “We’ve had a tough time here finding safeties. When I first got here we tried to get a better leader back there … but now with D.J. coming back for a second year and Montae coming back for a second year … it’s a great thing to have, some experienced safeties back there. Now, you can draft someone you can develop … the safety position is something we feel good about, compared to years past when we’re holding on.”

The duo of Swearinger and Nicholson will be a new one. Swearinger joined the Redskins last season after playing two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. Nicholson was a rookie a year ago, but was held back a bit with a shoulder injury and concussion issues.

Because of that, the two don’t share the cohesion that a number of the league’s top safeties share.

“It’s extremely important,” Swearinger said. “Any of the good safeties in the league, they’ve been together three or four years, five years … I guess you can say any other safeties that are good, they’ve been around each other for a while and this will be my first year to go back from last year to this year and have the same safeties.”

Swearinger pointed to Andrew Sendejo and Harrison Smith of the Minnesota Vikings, who have been playing together since 2012, as an example of the kind of relationship he wants to develop with Nicholson. 

“Hopefully, we will be better chemistry-wise. You know, that’s what were working on right now in camp. We just got to take it one day at a time and keep the chemistry going. Hopefully, we will be one of the best.”