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After 4 teams in 5 seasons, D.J. Swearinger knows what it takes to make the Redskins home

After 4 teams in 5 seasons, D.J. Swearinger knows what it takes to make the Redskins home

It's never been a talent issue for D.J. Swearinger. In college he made big plays and earned all conference honors playing in the SEC at South Carolina. He was drafted high by Houston, second round in 2013, and started 10 games his rookie season. 

In his first two seasons with the Texans, Swearinger started 22 games and proved to be a playmaker. He logged three interceptions and more than 100 tackles. He looked like a possible long-term answer at safety, until he was uncermoniously cut after his second year.

Reports showed Swearinger bucked at playing special teams. And over time, a reputation as a big - sometimes dirty - hitter emerged. 

None of it helped Swearinger, who was signed by Tampa in 2015. He played seven games for the Bucs but was cut mid-season. Arizona signed him late in the 2015 season, and kept him for 2016.

Last year, playing on a defense with strong leaders like Calais Campbell and Patrick Peterson, Swearinger excelled. He played all over the Cardinals secondary, starting 12 games and making plays like he did early in his career in Houston.

He finished the 2016 season with three interceptions, two sacks and eight passes defensed. He made more than 50 tackles. Pro Football Focus rated Swearinger with a +15.3 grade, by far the highest of his career and good for the 8th best rating of any safety in the NFL.

The Redskins haven't had solid safety play in years. In 2016, the team tried to address the position on the cheap, converting cornerbacks to safeties and signing low tier free agents. It didn't work.

So, finally, in 2017 the Redskins front office addressed the safety position by signing Swearinger to a three-year deal. And it sounds like the 25-year-old has grown up a lot after five years of bouncing around the league.

"I've been on a lot of teams. I want to make this home," Swearinger said (full video above). "I feel like I’m experienced enough to know what to do as a pro, know what to do to stay on top of things and be a pro. As long as I be a pro every day and make the plays I’m capable of, I’ll be a Redskin."

Swearinger's deal will keep him with the Redskins through the 2019 season, but already, head coach Jay Gruden seems excited about the new safety. Earlier this offseason, Gruden said watching film of Swearinger revealed a player hitting the highest levels of safety play in the NFL. In OTAs, seeing Swearinger in person, Gruden was impressed.

"Watching him the first two days really excites me. He just looks like a safety back there," Gruden said. "No offense to the previous safeties we’ve had before, but I just think D.J. is to a level in his career right now where he’s got a lot of confidence. He has got a lot of talent."

There was some question if Swearinger can play the free safety role in Washington. More to the point, if he has the speed to play a true center field, with second-year man Su'a Cravens moving from linebacker to strong safety. Swearinger has zero concerns.

"I'm a free safety, I think that fits my body well," he said. "As a free safety you got to have the confidence in yourself that you can run with those guys and make plays on those guys."

Swearinger doesn't lack for confidence, and he shouldn't. Combined with Cravens, along with Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland at cornerback, the Redskins secondary could be a strength in 2017.

"We have a lot of talent. If we work day in and day out, I think this group can be one of the best," Swearinger said. "We just got to keep working, keep gelling to get everybody on the same page, the sky’s the limit."

It's normal for players to be excited in May. There supposed to be. 

Coaches, however, tend to be more hesitant with praise. Not optimism, but actual praise, though when it comes to Swearinger, Gruden isn't shy about his expectations.

"We know that he’s a physical guy, but as far as coverages and breaking up things, he’s got a lot of confidence and I think he’s going to really, really emerge as a top safety not only for this team but in this league," the coach said of his new free safety.

It's been a long journey for Swearinger, four teams in five season. He's hoping this one sticks. 

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Chris Simms: Why Dwayne Haskins has 'Big Ben Roethlisberger-type talent'

Chris Simms: Why Dwayne Haskins has 'Big Ben Roethlisberger-type talent'

It did not take long for Dwayne Haskins to win approval from the media and the Redskins coaching staff in a short amount of time at OTAs. 

That excitement from the Redskins OTAs has reverberated across the country and made him the feature of NBC Sports' Chris Simms QB School series. There, the current NFL analyst and former NFL quarterback made big comparisons to the No. 15 overall pick Haskins to Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger. 

Simms was enthralled with the skillset that Haskins possesses and his potential. Citing his arm talent and the small mechanics of the 22-year-old, Simms thinks he has all the tools to be a top-tier NFL QB.

"He reminds me a lot of a big Ben Roethlisberger with his style of football play. [Haskins] arm is special, there's no doubt about that," Simms said. 

Comparing a rookie QB to a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback that has made six All-Pro teams is not too shabby. Roethlisberger has thrown for over 54,000 yards in his career with 363 touchdowns across his NFL career. They both wear No. 7, both played their college ball in Ohio, and both are known for their ability to hurl a football down the field. 

Some of the strong qualities of Haskins that Simms highlighted were his tight and quick arm motion, his controlled body rotation, and the accuracy down the field. At the same time, he pointed out that Haskins has a tendency to drop his elbow on passes, forcing his passes to sail high. 

"[Haskins] has Big Ben Roethlisberger-type talent and I know he's already wowed some people down there in Washington in his first few practices." 

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Redskins 2019 Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

Redskins 2019 Training Camp Schedule: Dates, times, location, how to attend

Before you blink Redskins training camp will be here, which means preseason football is not far off and the 2019 NFL regular season will come with it.

On Friday afternoon, the Washington Redskins released its 2019 training camp schedule, set to begin July 25. Training camp will take place at Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Va. for the seventh straight year. 

This year is set to be the most intriguing training camp since Robert Griffin III was drafted by the team in 2012. Playing in his first NFL training camp first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins will be the center of attention with the team's quarterback position still up in the air. There will be competition from trade acquisition Case Keenum and Redskins mainstay Colt McCoy. 

More to watch:

-Derrius Guice will be in the backfield practicing with Adrian Peterson for the first time.
-The return of the Alabama Wall in Darron Payne and Jonathan Allen.
-Which wide receiver(s) will step up into holes in the offense.

Here is everything you need to know about the 2019 Redskins training camp.

When is the Redskins 2019 training camp?

The Redskins 2019 training camp begins on Thursday, July 25 at 9:45 a.m. ET and runs to the team's final practice on Saturday, August 11. 

What time does the Redskins training camp start?

Most days of the Redskins training camp schedule starts with a practice at 9:45 a.m. ET with a late afternoon walkthrough at 4:40 p.m. ET.

Where is the Redskins training camp located?

The Redskins 2019 training camp is located at the Bon Secours Training Center at 2401 W. Leigh St., Richmond, Va. 23220.

How much does it cost to attend the Redskins training camp?

The Redskins training camp is free and open to the public. For more information on logistics, head to the Redskins’ official training camp page

Redskins training camp schedule

Date — Camp Opens — Practice — Walkthrough — Camp Closes

Thurs. 7/25 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Fri. 7/26 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Sat. 7/27 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Sun. 7/28 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Tues. 7/30 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Wed. 7/31 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Thurs. 8/1 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Fan Appreciation Day:
Sat. 8/3 — TBA — 1:00 p.m. — No Walkthrough — TBA

Sun. 8/4 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Mon. 8/5 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — 4:40 p.m. — TBA

Tues. 8/6 — TBA — 1:35 p.m. — No Walkthrough — TBA

Thurs. 8/8 — PRESEASON WEEK 1 AT CLEVELAND BROWNS 7:30 P.M.

Sat. 8/10 — TBA — 1:35 p.m. — No Walkthrough — TBA

Sun. 8/11 — TBA — 9:45 a.m. — No Walkthrough— TBA

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