The Redskins have been searching for solutions at safety for nearly a decade so it should be no surprise that Jay Gruden said that the position is an area of “great concern” at this point in the offseason.
Safety has been one of the focal points in free agency, although they brought in just one new player, David Bruton, formerly of the Broncos. They re-signed Duke Ihenacho, who was a restricted free agent, and cut both Dashon Goldson and Jeron Johnson.
Injuries and inexperience at the position are major concerns with all three of the top safeties.
“When you think about it, Duke (wrist) and Bruton (leg), who we just signed, are coming off of injuries,” Gruden said this morning at the NFL owners meetings. “D Hall (toe) had an injury last year and it’s really the first time he’s played safety. We moved [Deshazor] Everett there into safety also and he’s never really played.”
But if they can stay healthy Gruden likes the top three at the position.
“If we can keep him on the field I feel like D Hall can be as good a safety prospect as there is,” he said. “I love Duke, he plays with great passion and energy and I think David, coming in from Denver, can add some great pop also. That’s three safeties we really like but we have to address the depth issue . . . I think two of those three guys will ride up to the challenge and then adding more depth would be helpful.”
Obviously, depth will be important if your safeties have a tendency to end up on the shelf with injuries. Gruden mentioned Everett, who made saw some snaps at cornerback as rookie last year, and Will Blackmon, a veteran corner who could fill in at safety as well.
Gruden indicated that the door is not closed to a return for Goldson, who was released after being unable to come to an agreement on a reduction in his $8 million salary. The Redskins will continue to monitor the free agent market and will look to the draft for help.
Also in the picture is Kyshoen Jarrett, who played well last year is a rookie but suffered an injury in the season finale. It appears that there is some nerve damage and Gruden said that Jarrett did not have much strength in his arm. The timetable for his recovery is uncertain.