- The Washington Times - Friday, December 11, 2009

When cornerback Carlos Rogers was victimized for two long touchdowns and several other completions earlier this year, he found himself on the Washington Redskins’ sideline.

But free safety LaRon Landry remains the starter even though he was beaten twice for scores in Sunday’s loss to New Orleans.

Secondary coach Jerry Gray said Landry has to alter his mindset to account for playing center field. Even though Landry has played the position for nearly two years, he still has a habit of being overaggressive.

“He’s going through a learning process,” Gray said. “He was an All-American strong safety [at LSU] and a great player and really aggressive. Now he’s playing free [safety], which is more cunning, and you really have to think at that position. He has to learn how to be more passive than aggressive. We have to put him in a position where it’s time to be aggressive, then he’ll be aggressive and not have to be passive the entire game.”

The Saints took advantage of Landry to score touchdowns of 40 yards (by Marques Colston) and 53 (by Robert Meachem). Oakland has the league’s worst passing game, but the Redskins expect the Raiders to test Landry early Sunday.

“The thing he has to do is [think], ‘Why are they [game-planning] me?’ and be calculating against those guys and not jump every route,” Gray said. “Once you can analyze yourself, you become a lot better football player.”

Gray said the final quarter of the season is big for Landry “because he’ll get a chance at the end of the season to say, ‘OK, what did I do the last four games to stop the bleeding of the three games prior to that?’ ”

Moss praises Zorn

Receiver Santana Moss was asked Thursday to make a case for coach Jim Zorn returning next year. He delivered with a nearly two-minute answer.

“Is it really his fault we haven’t won games all the time? It’s not his fault. At the end of the day, we have to go out and play,” Moss said. “Is it his fault some of the plays aren’t being made? It’s not his fault. We have to make the plays.

“Did the team fight and do a lot of things people thought we wouldn’t have done? Yes. That’s something he helped us do. It’s a lot of good that you can take out of what he’s done, and most teams don’t stick around and play this well even though we’re not winning and when we’re going through something like this. Everybody could hold their tail easily and say it’s a wrap.

“As a team, we know we’re not as bad as people see it. A win does make a difference, but as long as you give it your all every Sunday and fight for the cause because you get a chance to do something a lot of people can’t do. As an owner when it comes to a coach whose team is still competing and playing good football, he should weigh that option and say, ‘Hey, this is what I feel like he brought to us.’ If it’s good enough, then he should be here. If it ain’t, that’s his choice.”

Haynesworth a question

Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (ankle) and fullback Mike Sellers (thigh) said they won’t play Sunday. Zorn would not yet rule out Haynesworth, who did not practice.

Sellers had 2 ounces of fluid drained from his leg during a postgame trip to the hospital. It remains swollen, so he won’t make the trip.

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall (knee) and guard Edwin Williams (illness) did not practice. Right tackle Stephon Heyer and defensive linemen Cornelius Griffin and Phillip Daniels were limited with knee injuries.

Rock wants in

Rock Cartwright is still a part of the running back rotation, but since he has lost the starting job to Quinton Ganther, he wants to return to playing more special teams.

Cartwright expects to play only kickoff coverage - Devin Thomas and Byron Westbrook remain the kick returners. Before Clinton Portis’ injury, Cartwright was on all four coverage and return teams.

“I would love to [return kicks] but probably not,” Cartwright said. “Special teams is where I made my living. I’m looking forward to getting out there with my guys and making some tackles.”

Fletcher honored twice

Linebacker London Fletcher is the Redskins’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which recognizes a player’s work in the community. The winner is announced at the Super Bowl.

Fletcher was also named to the USA Football/NFLPA All-Fundamentals Team. Fletcher’s fundamental is angle tackling.

c Staff writer David Elfin contributed to this report.

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