DeJon Gomes, like the rest of the Redskins secondary, was expected to struggle against Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints vaunted air attack.Only he didnt.With the exception of a personal foul in the first quarter and pass interference infraction in the third, it could be argued that Gomes was among the Redskins best players on defense last Sunday. He finished the game tied for team-lead in tackles (4), combined tackles (5) and returned a fourth quarter interception 49 yards deep into Saints territory.Not bad for a second-year professional making just his sixth career NFL start. The 22-year-old strong safety replaced injured veteran Brandon Meriweather (sprained knee) and figures to get the call again Sunday in St. Louis.I thought he did a good job in a lot of areas, but theres room for improvement like everybody, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. I thought the guy stepped in and was cool and calm. Thats kind of his demeanor anyway. He did a nice job in both the running game and the pass game.Gomes afternoon did not get off to the type of start he had envisioned.On the Saints second drive of the game, he was whistled for a late hit on Darren Sproles, putting New Orleans on the Redskins 20-yard line. On the next play, Brees hit Jimmy Graham for the go-ahead touchdown.I guess it could have went either way, Gomes said Thursday. But I have to be smarter than that.It was the lowlight of an afternoon that, for the most part, only got better for Gomes.In the third quarter, he was whistled for pass interference after breaking up a pass deep in Washingtons end. Four plays later, the Saints settled for a field goal.Gomes then made amends for the two penalties with his clutch play in the fourth quarter as the Saints mounted a comeback bid. The home team had trimmed its deficit to 33-25, had the ball again and the Redskins were reeling.But Gomes, in essence, clinched the Redskins victory when he stepped between Brees and Lance Moore on a deep pass near midfield. Gomes snatched the ball, zigzagged across the field and nearly scored before getting shoved out of bounds at the three-yard line.Alfred Morris punched the ball into the end zone next play to put the Redskins ahead 40-25 and the game out of New Orleans reach.Gomes said it was his biggest play since junior college.My high school running back days came out of me, he said with a laugh. I was just trying to get as many yards as I could.Told of Gomes running back comment, Haslett had some fun at the safetys expense.Why didnt he score then? he cracked.
The news about Arie Kouandjio’s quad injury didn’t sound good when NBC Sports Washington broke it a couple of weeks ago. It didn’t sound any better when Jay Gruden said that they were seeking a second opinion.
And now we have word that Kouandjio will be out for the season, per multiple media reports. While there was some initial hope that he might be able to play at some point this season, he is likely to be put on injured reserve soon.
The corresponding move is expected to be the signing of guard Isaiah Williams, per JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington. He spent training camp with the Redskins in 2016 and 2017 before being released in the final cuts. Last year he also spent time with the Chiefs and the Colts but he has yet to appear in an NFL game.
At worst, the Redskins have lost their starter at left guard. Kouandjio was set to compete with Shawn Lauvao for that job. Lauvao, who has been the starter at left guard going into the season for each of the last four years, would have been tough to unseat, but the 26-year-old Kouandjio may have had the inside track.
And at best, the Redskins lost experienced depth. Last year, when injuries hit hard along the offensive line, Kouandjio was re-signed and he started six games. It’s tough to lose experienced depth before the players even put pads on.
We will see if the Redskins make a move to shore up the guard position. Over the next couple of weeks, teams will be evaluating their veteran players and their rookies to see if they have younger and cheaper options. That could lead to some serviceable players getting released or some quality options being put on the trading block.
The Redskins likely are set to get four compensatory draft picks in 2019, which would give them a total of 11 selections. They certainly could afford to deal one of those picks if they are offered a chance to upgrade at left guard.
More 2018 Redskins
- 53-man roster: Player one-liners, offense
- Tandler’s Take: Best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
- The draft: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- Schedule series: Gotta beat the Cowboys
Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, May 22, 66 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
Redskins player one-liners, defense
A few weeks ago, I did an early projection of the Redskins’ 53-man roster on offense and defense. As the team gets ready for OTAs here is a comment on each player expected to make the team on defense; the offense was up yesterday.
—Even though he played just 159 snaps last year before getting injured, the experience that Jonathan Allen gained in the offseason and training camp last year will help him get off to a strong start this season.
—Daron Payne will improve as the season goes on but he should be of some help stopping the run, the team’s most glaring weakness, right off the bat.
—Matt Ioannidis could play his way into an early contract extension a year from now, something nobody saw coming a year ago.
—Last year Anthony Lanier played a little over half a season’s worth of snaps and got 5.0 sacks so I’ll put his over/under for this year at 7.5.
—I think many fans see “Redskins veteran free agent D-lineman” and associate “bust” but Stacy McGee played pretty well last year.
—Will Tim Settle be in at nose tackle for the first snap in Week 1?
—The coaches would like to be able to keep Ziggy Hood on the roster, but injuries and other issues could make him a victim of the roster numbers game.
—Zach Brown struggled a bit before injuries forced him out of the last three games, but he still finished in the top 10 in the NFL in tackles.
—The team re-signing Mason Foster in late January was a low-key but potentially very impactful move.
—After getting cut and then returning in November last year, Zach Vigil probably will be employed with the Redskins for all of the 2018 season.
—It will be interesting to see how much the Redskins try to get out of converted safety Josh Harvey-Clemons as a nickel linebacker this year.
—The Redskins moved up in the sixth round to draft Shaun Dion Hamilton, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he has a regular role on defense before the season is out.
—All Preston Smith needs to do to hit it big in free agency is add a few sacks to his 2017 total and get a few more takeaways.
—Ryan Kerrigan already got paid, he’s a few more good years away from making the Redskins Ring of Fame.
—I predict that Ryan Anderson gets his first NFL sack in Week 2 against the Colts.
—You usually think of outside linebackers rotating in when it’s the nickel defense, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Pernell McPhee be a regular in short-yardage situations.
—I think Josh Norman will the dancing in the end zone at some point this season; he is long overdue to get a pick six (or a pick of any sort for that matter).
—The first time I noticed Quinton Dunbar playing cornerback was when he lined up against Odell Beckham in 2015.
—The success of the Redskins’ decisions to trade Kendall Fuller and to let Bashaud Breeland leave as a free agent will hinge mostly on how well Fabian Moreau plays in his second year in the NFL.
—Realistically, the Redskins can hope to get 10 or 12 good games out of Orlando Scandrick.
—And because Scandrick is unlikely to be healthy for 16 games, the ability of Josh Holsey to step in when needed will be critical.
—If the Redskins can get a few good punt returns and 75 snaps at nickel corner from Greg Stroman he will be worth the seventh-round pick they used to draft him.
—With a year in the defense under his belt, D.J. Swearinger is a candidate to make his first Pro Bowl.
—After Jay Gruden compared him to Jordan Reed, there is a lot of pressure on Montae Nicholson to stay on the field and perform well when he is out there.
—Even though he started eight games last year I think the coaches view Deshazor Everett as more of a special teams guy and situational defender than a safety they want playing 70 snaps a game.
—Troy Apke has a lot to learn and it remains to be seen if he can go from being a fast guy to being a fast NFL football player.
Tandler on Twitter
It’s one of those urban legends, I guess.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) May 21, 2018
—Minicamp (6/12) 21
—Training camp starts (7/26) 66
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 80
The Redskins last played a game 142 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 110 days.
In case you missed it
- Pre-OTAs Redskins player one-liners, offense
- Trades, misses and mistakes explain Redskins' dead cap
- Former Redskin Junior Galette considering retirement
- Schedule preview: Redskins hope to gain ground in series vs. Giants