Being cerebral Monday through Saturday was fine, but that didn’t cut it completely on Sundays.
There wasn’t an official corner-turning game for Landry, but at midseason, he had a three-game stretch in which he made 31 tackles. And in the Redskins’ four-game winning streak to end the regular season, he had 17 tackles and three pass breakups as his role changed after Sean Taylor was murdered.
“My goal wasn’t to just play last year,” Landry said. “I wanted to step in, showcase my talents and help the team win. I wasn’t like, ‘All right, I just want to get on the field.’ I wanted to make an impact and compete.”
Landry saved arguably his best game for last - two interceptions in the playoff loss at Seattle.
Current Redskins coach Jim Zorn was part of the Seahawks’ coaching staff. They wanted to challenge Landry and see just how quickly he could make up ground downfield.
“We felt, ‘Hey, let’s take a shot,’” Zorn said. “What was frustrating for us was that they played LaRon so deep and he was so rangy, it allowed the corners to play aggressive in man coverage. He’s so fast, he takes great angles to cut off a player.”
Citing a play during Monday’s practice, Zorn said Landry’s strength in the passing game is to deke the quarterback into thinking a throw is available.
“We had a play where LaRon was weak-side low and he came all the way across the field, and what it does to the quarterback is give him a false sense of, ‘I’ve got this. I can’t see anybody,’” Zorn said. “Jason [Campbell] threw an inside vertical, and LaRon had a knockout shot. It’s the quarterback saying, ‘I got him, I got him and, oops, no I don’t.’ And we’re calling for the next receiver because this guy is out [cold].”
Landry is used to letting those types of plays speak for him. He has never been a rah-rah leader or a motor-mouth like Fred Smoot. But Jackson calls him the unquestioned leader of the team’s safeties.
“There’s an old saying: Talk doesn’t cook the rice,” Jackson said. “It’s not about what you say. In his own way, he communicates everything he needs to. Everybody follows his lead.”
Said Landry: “Being in a guy’s face and pumping him up, that’s not me. My style is to show by example and help the other guys get the train rolling.”
Doughty, who started alongside Landry after Taylor’s death, is like Jackson - he can’t wait to see how much better Landry can be.
“He has all the skills,” Doughty said. “He’ll keep learning more and more little things, and that will help him make more big plays and just be incredible.”
Note- Running back Clinton Portis and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin remained excused from activities. Cornerback Shawn Springs has yet to show up.
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