Redskins

Redskins

The tweet was supposed to give DJ Swearinger a little extra shine. But there was something else about it that made the safety very angry.

On Saturday night, Pro Football Focus posted a graphic highlighting their highest-graded safeties so far in 2018. And at the top of the list was Swearinger, who was listed a few points ahead of Green Bay's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

However, Swearinger took exception with the fact that Clinton-Dix was the one with the picture on the graphic. No. 36 has been checking those tweets the last few months and it was the first time the top-ranked guy wasn't featured in the photo.

That slight led to this response, where the 27-year-old vowed to make PFF "feel" him:

Turns out, it was the Giants on Sunday who felt Swearinger the most.

The defensive back turned in a dominant and complete performance in the Redskins' 20-13 Week 8 win over their division foe, picking off Eli Manning twice and breaking up another pass to Saquon Barkley that would've been a TD.

Afterward, he explained how that post from PFF is just a part of what he thinks is an overall lack of recognition for his game, which he's using to fuel his fantastic and consistent campaign.

 

"Disrespected," Swearinger said at the podium underneath MetLife Stadium when asked to describe how he feels about his standing in the league. "Very disrespected. I wanted to show them that I am the best safety in this game, and I'm gonna keep doing that every week, week in and week out."

The young, revamped defensive line is getting a ton of credit for Washington's resurgence on defense, and rightfully so. But Swearinger should get just as much.

Through seven games, he's recorded four interceptions, forced a couple of fumbles, picked up a loose ball and has generally been very sure as a tackler. All of that is coming on a very reasonable $4.3 million cap hit, too.

So, what's the reason for the elevation of his play from solid to All-Pro level? Well, there's two main factors.

"My hard work paying off, I've been grinding for a long time," Swearinger said first. "I'm a guru in the film room. It's something that I take pride in, I feel like nobody watches the game or studies the game like I do."

"Second year in this system," he later added. "This is my first time of my career actually being in a system two full years."

Both the devotion to studying and increased comfort were evident on his first INT of Manning, where he peeled off his assignment to jump an Odell Beckham slant. The turnover halted one of New York's most promising drives of the contest and was a startling display of anticipation:

Perhaps the most telling part of Swearinger's day, though, came late in his press conference. The veteran, who's always looking for more, more, more, expressed dismay that the 'Skins didn't beat the Giants by more and was adamant that nothing — for him or his team — has been accomplished yet.

"We leading, but we haven't won the division, we haven't won the championship, we haven't won the Super Bowl," he said. "We just getting started. We just turning the stove on, man. We ain't even put the grease in yet."

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