- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Springs experiments with new position
Question of the Day
Shawn Springs grew up idolizing Rod Woodson, one of the great cornerbacks of his generation.
In the latter stages of Woodson’s career he switched from cornerback to safety. As Springs nears the twilight of his time in the NFL, he also may make that transition in the coming seasons.
“Rod Woodson went from 12 to 17 [years in the league] and had [23 more] picks. [Whistles] … That would be awesome,” Springs said. “I think it might be a natural transition. I’ve got the size for it. It’s just about getting back there and getting used to it. It is still a new position.”
Springs, who has spent his entire 11-year career at cornerback, has gotten a preview of playing free safety during training camp. Injuries and a lack of experienced defensive backs pushed the Washington Redskins to experiment with Springs at the position.
Starting free safety LaRon Landry has missed three weeks with a lingering hamstring injury. The Redskins cut free agent acquisition Stuart Schweigert after the first preseason game. That leaves special-teams standout Vernon Fox as the only player on the roster with any significant NFL experience at the position.
“We’re kind of thin right now,” safeties coach Steve Jackson said. “He’s got the body type, and he knows this defense inside and out. He’s been here as long we have, and we’re comfortable with him back there controlling and patrolling as well as any of other guys.”
Added defensive coordinator Greg Blache: “It depends on what we need. You do what have to do. Shawn Springs is capable of playing safety. He is still our starting left corner, but if need be and it presents itself, we’re preparing ourselves to have a safety.”
In contrast, the Redskins have more depth at cornerback. Fred Smoot and Carlos Rogers have both been starters, and Leigh Torrence had 43 tackles as the third cornerback last season.
The injuries have led to Springs flipping back and forth at practice from left corner to free safety, sometimes during the same set of plays.
“I don’t know what position I am playing,” Springs joked after one practice. “What am I? Do you know?”
When Fox wasn’t available for Saturday’s preseason tilt with the visiting Buffalo Bills because of personal reasons, Springs experienced his first NFL game at the position. He started at free safety with Torrence in his place at corner.
He looked like a natural sprinting up “the alley” to meet Buffalo tailback Marshawn Lynch on a sweep with a big hit. On the next play he had a potential interception in his hands when he stepped in front of a pass near the goal line, but it fell to the ground.
“I’ve got to make that catch. It does give you a lot of opportunities to make plays back there,” Springs said. “It was pretty cool. I feel comfortable recognizing plays, but I have no idea when it comes to the footwork and technique it takes. I obviously would have to practice that a lot.”
Other cornerbacks like Aeneas Williams and Troy Vincent also have made the switch late in their NFL careers. While it might give players fewer opportunities to spar verbally with wide receivers, Springs doesn’t consider a potential move a downgrade for him.
“Safety is a glamorous position,” Springs said. “There are some damn good safeties out there - Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu. You got some guys back there that can really play.”
About the Author
- The Capitals' Cup full of dreams
- Capitals' Green left off Canada's roster
- Capitals' new addition brings energy
- Disastrous first period dooms Capitals
- Disastrous first period dooms Capitals
Latest Blog Entries
By David Keene
Allowing states to innovate could reduce dependency on bureaucracy
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll - Washington Times#.U9ZSgi7-CXU.twi
- Russia violating 1987 nuclear missile treaty
- RAHN: When money mischief goes global
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq