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Deshazor Everett is valuable to Washington, just ask the Steelers WRs

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Deshazor Everett brings the lumber when he steps on the football field. He's a ferocious hitter in a sport where ferocious hitting seems to be an endangered species. 

On Monday night, it seemed like the Steelers receivers might have noticed. 

Pittsburgh's receivers dropped seven passes, and while that unit has struggled with drops all season, the threat of a major collision with Everett could have also been a factor. 

It's interesting to see the strong safety get extended playing time this season. 

He's been in Washington since 2015 but under the previous Bruce Allen regime, Everett was only considered a special teamer. Prior to this season, Everett started just 11 games in five seasons.

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Now with Ron Rivera in charge, it seems like Everett has gotten more opportunity with the defense. Some of that might have been after an injury to Landon Collins, but that would only be half true. The Washington coaching staff saw enough of Troy Apke after the season's first month and installed Everett in his place.

That speaks to Rivera's willingness to try new players and work his way down the depth chart. 

A fourth-round pick in 2018, Apke was a miss by the last staff. With Collins out, Washington is now relying on Everett, seventh-round rookie Kam Curl and practice squader Jeremy Reaves before Apke. That says it all. 

It also shows that Rivera believes in a meritocracy. 

 

Everett is playing better, and therefore, he gets on the field. It's not rocket science, but it is a philosophical change from Allen's time in Washington. 

Think about some of the safeties this team rolled out instead of playing Everett. David Bruton. Way past his prime Donte Whitner. Montae Nicholson. 

Allen believed in self-preservation at all costs, even if it meant limiting a player's potential to try and prove that a draft pick or personnel move was correct. 

Rivera believes in getting the best player on the field, regardless of draft status or contract. He proved that this offseason when the team released Sean Davis.

Washington signed Davis in free agency to be the safety lined up next to Collins. It became obvious Davis wasn't the right fit during training camp, and he was quickly released. Rivera admitted that mistake. 

Then Apke was starting, and it became obvious he shouldn't. He then got benched. Rivera admitted that mistake. 

Nobody is infallible, Rivera knows that, even if Allen didn't. It's refreshing. 

None of this is to say that Everett is a perfect safety. He's not. But he's certainly intimidating, and for a young defense that gets better every week, he's valuable. 

Just ask the Steelers.