Ryan Clark wants nothing to do with being cast as Bacarri Rambo’s mentor.
It would be a typical role for each Redskins free safety – Clark, the 34-year-old veteran entering his 13th season, and Rambo, the 24-year-old coming off a rough rookie year.
But Clark insists he’s not responsible for Rambo’s continued maturation. It’s all on his teammate.
“I’ve done nothing,” Clark said. “He’s worked. He’s asked the questions he needs to ask of anyone on how to get better, and that’s what young players are supposed to do – especially talented guys like him. We’re just extremely excited that he’s playing such good ball.”
Rambo, in and out of the Redskins’ rotation last season, has been challenged to play more consistently this season if he hopes to secure a spot on the roster.
Through two preseason games, he’s fared well. Rambo had five tackles, including one on special teams, and forced a fumble Monday in the Redskins’ 24-23 preseason victory over Cleveland. That came after he had another four tackles in the first preseason game, a 23-16 home victory against New England.
All told, Rambo has played approximately 61 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps over the first two games, including filling in for Clark as the starter against the Patriots and assuming his usual second-team repetitions as well.
“Everybody’s fighting for their job,” Rambo said Monday after the game. “There’s no sorry guys out there. Everybody’s in the NFL. You’re just going out there [and] getting the best out of everybody. Everybody’s trying to make the team.”
Rambo’s biggest issue last season was his tackling – both in his execution and his consistency. Defensive backs coach Raheem Morris said earlier in training camp that Rambo’s “got some demons” when it comes to open-field tackling.
That’s something Rambo couldn’t prove during training camp, given the limited number of live-tackling practices the Redskins held. Against the Patriots, Rambo dragged down running back Shane Vereen after a 7-yard gain, and on Monday, his highlight was a crushing hit he delivered on Browns tight end MarQueis Gray in the second quarter that was recovered by cornerback Bashaud Breeland.
“It’s kind of different because you don’t get to hit your teammates,” Rambo said. “Sometimes you get to thud them up, but there’s no tackling them to the ground. But here you get to tackle them to the ground, show coaches what you’re made of and show them how physical you are.”
Despite the restrictions, Rambo attempted to show that physicality in practice during training camp, forcefully wrapping up teammates when a light hit would suffice.
It’s part of an overhaul Rambo is hoping to present before roster decisions are made next week.
“Guys were really hard on him last year because he had a couple of bad plays early, but Bacarri’s a good football player,” Clark said. “That’s the reason he was drafted. He’s taken it upon himself to take those challenges, to take the adversity from last year and come out and be a better player. He’s done an extremely good job for us to this point of preseason.”