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Rookie free safety Bacarri Rambo has 'big opportunity' practicing with first team

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RICHMOND – Bacarri Rambo’s first NFL training camp began Thursday morning with a great opportunity.

The Redskins’ sixth-round draft pick practiced with the first-string defense during the walkthrough. Washington lacks a proven true free safety, so Rambo could make a significant impact early in the season.

“They asked me: Do I know what I was doing?” Rambo said. “They just said I’m getting some first-team reps, so I’m just trying to take advantage of my opportunity.”

Rambo played free safety during spring practices but took only infrequent repetitions with the first team. Coaches install offensive and defensive schemes and plays during training camp walkthroughs, making them an ideal learning environment for rookies.

Rambo during his collegiate career at Georgia became known as a center field-type player with good ball skills but not elite range. He prefers playing deep against the pass rather than near the line against the run. He intercepted eight passes two seasons ago and probably would have been drafted higher if it weren’t for marijuana violations at Georgia.

He feels comfortable in the defense partly because of his relationship with Kirk Olivadotti, a Redskins defensive assistant from 2000-10. Olivadotti joined Georgia’s coaching staff in 2011 to coach linebackers.

“He’s been helping me out a lot,” Rambo said. “I think I’m ready for this challenge.”

Rambo on Thursday played alongside strong safety Brandon Meriweather, who participated with his teammates for the first time since tearing the ACL in his right knee Nov. 18.

If Rambo and Meriweather win the starting safety positions to begin the regular season, their work together now would be a critical component of whatever success they have.

“That’s probably the hardest thing for anybody coming into the league is communication,” Meriweather said. “That started as soon as he got drafted.”

Added Rambo: “It’s a big opportunity. I’ve just got to go out there and show them that I know what I’m doing and help the team out as much as I can and make plays.”

Second-round rookie cornerback David Amerson also practiced with the first string, replacing Josh Wilson, who began the day on the active/physically-unable-to-perform list. However, Wilson (left pectoral/labrum) tweeted after the walkthrough that he has been cleared for action.

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