Free safety LaRon Landry, forecast for a breakou year by his coaches, doesn’t have an interception and the Redskins are 2-6.
“It’s not the season that I was looking for,” a downcast Landry said Thursday. “I came into the season with high expectations. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. We’re 2-6 and we’re at the point of the season where we just need a win. All those goals and aspirations I had are more like let’s just win a ballgame. The big plays I was looking for, Pro Bowl … realistically, probably that won’t happen.”
Part of the reason is that Landry seems miscast as an Ed Reed-type ballhawk. He was drafted sixth overall in 2007 to play [IT] strong [IT] safety next to Pro Bowl free safety Sean Taylor. But Landry was moved to free in 2008 in the wake of his former partner’s murder. He’s only picked off two passes in 40 games for the Redskins, not counting his pair in the 2007 playoff game at Seattle.
“We don’t get a lot of balls downfield,” said safeties coach Steve Jackson. “Some game situations call for deep passes. And some call for ball control. He can’t break on a curl. He can’t break on a hitch.”
And Landry is a better choice to play free than anyone else on the roster of one of three teams whose safeties don’t have a pick. The others are Carolina and Kansas CIty.
“He is our best free, a guy that can go from sideline to sideline,” said secondary coach Jerry Gray. “He just happens to be our best strong, too. We’ve got to put him in what’s good for us and right now it’s free safety.”
While taking the blame for poor tackling as Atlanta bruiser Michael Turner ran all over him and the rest of the defense in last week’s 31-17 loss, Washington’s fourth straight defeat, Landry said he’s fine playing free.
“That out of position stuff, that whole big controversy I don’t know where it started,” Landry said. “I played free and strong [at LSU]. I play whatever package is called. Sometimes I be at strong, sometimes I be at free. It’s really not a big deal.”
— David Elfin