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Posted at 12:14 PM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Atogwe's signing bolsters Skins nicely

By LaVar Arrington

Chalk one up for the Redskins.

As time passed and a lockout neared, I was beginning to wonder whether they would make any moves before a work stoppage.

It happened yesterday. The Redskins signed Oshiomogho Isaac "O. J." Atogwe, formerly of the Saint Louis Rams, a true free safety.

This defense has some holes that need to be filled if it is to improve from last year. With an injury-ravaged secondary, free safety became a big issue for Jim Haslett's 3-4 defense.

Kevin Barnes stepped in and played well late in the season, maybe well enough to continue on as a free safety, even though his natural position is corner. That would provide much needed depth at the position. Now having such an intelligent player in Atogwe, Barnes will be able to benefit by learning from a proven veteran at the position.

Adding Atogwe provides a smart and athletic ball player with whom Haslett is very familiar. Haslett coached Atogwe when he was defensive coordinator for the Rams.

Free safeties need to be able to direct traffic and cover space well. Atogwe is more than capable of taking on these responsibilities. Atogwe was used more like a strong safety in Saint Louis, which meant playing him in the box, closer to the line, which didn't favor his skill set.

I'm sure that's why Washington was so attractive, because those are the duties of one Laron Landry, who in my opinion may have been the best strong safety in the game until his injury last season. With Landry's presence in the box and Atogwe roaming back off the box, this could be a tandem that potentially could be as effective as what the Redskins tried to do with Sean Taylor and Landry.

Atogwe's strengths exist within his ability to roam in the secondary. Adding him to DeAngelo Hall at corner may create a spike in the interceptions column.

This was a signing for a reported $26 million over five years. I like the signing and the numbers are reasonable for a player who could vastly improve the secondary.

Now the next step should be to find a nose tackle who is an impact player. If the Redskins find a monster for the center of that defense, whatever pieces are left to be found should fall into place much more easily.

There has been all kinds of talk surrounding the single man wrecking crew named Albert Haynesworth. At least in the midst of all that drama a solid signing was done. It may be the only signing by the Redskins until the draft.

By LaVar Arrington  | March 4, 2011; 12:14 PM ET
 
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Comments

Solid signing...I agree. I expect the Skins to fill FS, WR, OG and CB needs via free agency. I expect QB, NT, OLB and ILB to be filled by the draft. Selvish Capers RT and Mike Williams RG should step in okay on the right side of the O-line.

Posted by: BlameGibbs | March 4, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Lavar,
I don't know if you are aware or not but......Kevin Barnes is an EXTREMELY INTELLIGENT young man. This was well known at MD and was further illustrated his score on the NFL test (he scored in the superior range). Redskin coaches have even spoken of his intellect as well.
You suggested that Kevin would benefit by learning from OJ's intellect.
Tha was poorly worded.
Barnes has the intellect but I don't believe he shares the same "PHYSICAL" talents that OJ does.

Posted by: bernarddeane | March 4, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Great signing. Now we just need a new owner, coach, QB, RB, 2 more receivers, a consistent PK, P, go back to the 43.....I'm sure I'm missing a thousand more things....probably something to do about parking....

Posted by: Hkiwa | March 4, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Lavar,
I don't know if you are aware or not but......Kevin Barnes is an EXTREMELY INTELLIGENT young man. This was well known at MD and was further illustrated his score on the NFL test (he scored in the superior range). Redskin coaches have even spoken of his intellect as well.
You suggested that Kevin would benefit by learning from OJ's intellect.
Tha was poorly worded.
Barnes has the intellect but I don't believe he shares the same "PHYSICAL" talents that OJ does.


Posted by: bernarddeane | March 4, 2011 1:03 PM

I believe he was referring to free safety intellect. Yes, KB is a very intelligent person, but that still doesn't mean he's smart at the FS position just yet. No matter how intelligent a person is, it takes another intelligent person in the field in which one is learning to take his football smarts to the next level.

Posted by: QSkinzfan | March 4, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

@bernarddeane:

Smart people need to learn from other smart people. Just because he says that Barnes will benefit from having an intellectual player around it doesn't mean that Barnes isn't an intellectual player. Lavar's comments in no way reflect poorly on Barnes.

Posted by: ouvan59 | March 4, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

This dude is gonna be a beast...

As for KB, ask Jahvid Best if he thinks KB can get physical.

Posted by: OutlawTerp21 | March 4, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Finally, an intelligent free agent signing. Now...let's see if there's gonna be a season.

Posted by: whelms1 | March 4, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I don't know Atogwe but I hope he's better than the last safety we signed away from the Rams.

Posted by: jksesq1 | March 4, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

@bernarddeane:

I'm baffled as to why you think that was worded poorly. At no time did he suggest KB's intelligence was low. He is simply stating a known fact in the NFL when it comes to young players learning from older veteran players. KB has a few games as a FS and his FS football IQ was not as high the first game he played the position compared to now and it will even higher learning under OJ.

Posted by: heatseeker690069 | March 4, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see the Redskins trade down and get more picks. A team like the Patriots who have a ton of picks and has needs to fill on defense might be a good partner. The Skins could probably get the #28, 33 and 92 picks in exchange for the #10 pick. If they did that, they could get Phil Taylor DT Baylor, Johnathan Baldwin WR Pitt and Ryan Mallett QB Arkansas or Florida State QB Christian Ponder.. They would also now have a 3rd pick that they don't have now. That would be a draft that would make me very happy.

Posted by: kroduik | March 4, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Adding all of those pieces in the Draft along with OJ would be big for the Skins. Shanny has the team going in the right direction.

Posted by: kroduik | March 4, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure that bernarddeane's comments are a knee jerk reaction to a perceived negative slant to a player that bernard is familiar with. Thats not the first time I've seen that happen on this and many other sites.

As for obtaining OJ, this is definately a step in the right direction to getting this team back on the winning side. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing him perform and hopefully make a tremendous impact on a defense that performed questionably at best last year.

One more thing, trading down to get more picks from the Pats would be great and perhaps if the Pats are desperate for the 10 pick they might be willing to also throw in a player or another pick later in the draft. Of course that is for the trade negotiators to try to get.

HTTR!!

Posted by: mford7522 | March 5, 2011 7:24 AM | Report abuse

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