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Fan Mailbag: Who Emerges At Free Safety?


Wondering about a player's status? Trying to recall a past game? Want some insight on the Redskins?'s Gary Fitzgerald opens up the mailbag on Tuesday and answers fan questions.

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Question: Who do you think would make the best free safety for the Redskins this year? Reed Doughty? Chris Horton? LaRon Landry? Or a player not yet on the team?

-- Sean K.

Gary: Lots of questions on this topic this week. First of all, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said he wants defensive backs who can play both strong and free safety because they could line up at either position depending on the play call. That said, Haslett appears committed to playing Landry closer to the line of scrimmage, as a strong safety, on many downs. Horton, who played strong safety the last two years, would likely be Landry's backup. That likely leaves Doughty and Kareem Moore competing for playing time opposite Landry, at free safety. Doughty and Moore alternated at free safety during the Redskins' most recent mini-camp. Based on experience, Doughty has the edge, but Moore has shown some big-play ability--and big hit ability--in his limited playing time. This is going to be one of the top training camp competitions to watch this summer.

Question: I recently saw that the New York-New Jersey region is a top contender to host the Super Bowl in 2014? Is it possible that the NFL is moving away from its "dome/south only" stadiums for the Super Bowl? And could Washington, D.C., host in the future?

-- Brian P.

Gary: NFL owners have in fact awarded the 2014 Super Bowl to the New York-New Jersey region--and that should certainly open the door for Washington, D.C., to host a Super Bowl in the future as well. Washington's weather, even in February, is milder than New York's. The Redskins previously made a bid for Super Bowl XLII in 2003 but lost to Phoenix. (Ironically, two cold weather teams played in Super Bowl XLII--the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.)

Question: Gary, do you know of any issues at this point with signing any of the Redskins' draft picks to contracts, especially Trent Williams?

-- Matt S.

Gary: Most rookie contracts, particularly those for first-round picks, are finalized in the two weeks prior to training camp. So there's plenty of time for the Redskins to get a rookie contract done with each of their six draft picks. Meantime, rookies are expected to participate in OTAs and the June mini-camp, so they are staying connected to the team's plans.

Question: Another year, another question on the status of Byron Westbrook. How has he been looking? Will the only Salisbury University Sea Gull to ever make an NFL 53-man roster make the team this year?

-- Tyler W.

Gary: Westbrook is one of nine cornerbacks on the Redskins' roster this offseason. It appears DeAngelo Hall, Carlos Rogers and Phillip Buchanon are assured of roster spots, which means there is going to be competition for the fourth and/or fifth cornerback job. Westbrook's top competition should come from third-year player Justin Tryon and second-year player Kevin Barnes. It could come down to how Westbrook performs on special teams in preseason. He logged 15 tackles on kick and punt coverage units last year.

Question: What are OTAs?

-- Ed A.

Gary: OTAs are otherwise known as Organized Team Activities. They are a series of off-season practices in which coaches and players go on the field without pads and wearing shorts. Participation by players is voluntary and there is no tackling or hitting permitted. Practices consist of mostly drills and instruction, plus some 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 action. All NFL teams can use up to 14 OTA days in the offseason.

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