Despite solid depth at the safety position, the Redskins decided to bring in another defensive back this offseason in undrafted rookie free agent Lendy Holmes.
The team returns two successful starters in LaRon Landry and Chris Horton as well as backups in Reed Doughty and Kareem Moore.
Holmes looks to work himself into the mix in training camp and preseason. His goal is to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
"It's just competition and I have to go out there and compete," Holmes said. "Everybody can make the 53-man roster--it's just how committed and dedicated you are and how bad you really want it."
Holmes, a starter on last year's Big 12 champion Oklahoma Sooners, was disappointed not to be selected in last April's NFL Draft.
He has versatility to play both free and strong safety and he led the Sooners with five interceptions last year, but it wasn't enough to impress pro scouts on draft weekend.
Holmes was overlooked in the draft even though he was one of nine prospects selected to take part in Deion Sanders' combine training session called "Prime U." Sanders played for the Redskins in 2000.
"Working with Deion was great, he had already been in the league and had success for so many years," Holmes said of his experience with Sanders. "I just picked up whatever he was talking about quickly and whatever he was teaching me. I just soaked it all in."
Holmes was targeted by the Redskins as a rookie free agent prospect after the draft and he signed with the team along with 12 other undrafted rookies on April 27.
Through mini-camp and OTAs, Holmes has been working with the other safeties to find his role with the team.
The 6-1, 201-pound Oklahoma product believes he has the athletic ability, so earning a roster spot is a matter of learning defensive coordinator Greg Blache's scheme.
"Personally, I think once I get this playbook down, learn this defense and learn how they want to [play me], I'll be good," Holmes said. "I'm athletic enough to go out there and play.
"I just feel like I need to get inside this playbook because [the other safeties] already have years above me."
Holmes wants to show the coaching staff more than just his athletic ability and knowledge of the playbook, though.
"I want to show them that I'm dedicated and I'm committed," Holmes said. "I want to show them that I'm a hard worker and that I'm not here just for the paycheck.
"I really do love this game. I've been playing since I was a kid and this is what I see myself doing."
The undrafted rookie free agent has considerable competition as the team usually keeps only four safeties on the final roster.
With Landry and Horton having solidified themselves on the defense, Holmes would have to beat out either Doughty or Moore, both of whom have shown potential in previous years. Also, Holmes must compete with second-year player Michael Grant, who signed with the Redskins practice squad last season in late November.
With stiff competition, Holmes understands that he will need to prove himself quickly if he wants to stay with the Redskins.
"This is a business--it's not like college where you have a scholarship and you're there regardless," Holmes said. "Here, there aren't any scholarships and they can get rid of you quick."
Holmes understands that being part of an NFL team is a privilege and that being let go is part of the game.
"If I get cut, I know it's not personal because it means that I didn't do what I needed to do to stay on this team," Holmes said. "For now, I just need to make a good impression, but if I don't make the 53-man roster, then I just have to keep going."
With most of the veterans and coaching staff on their off-season break, Holmes remains at Redskins Park hoping to make progress prior to the start of training camp.