LaRon Landry entered preseason planning to keep things simple.
He wanted to learn the defensive system and adapt to his new teammates--and play hard.
From the looks of it, Landry has exceeded his own expectations.
The Redskins' top pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, at No. 6 in the first round, has already been elevated to the starting strong safety spot on the team's preseason depth chart.
The former LSU star was listed as Pierson Prioleau's backup heading into the preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans. He ended up starting the game, however, while alternating with Prioleau through the first half.
Now Landry could be on course to start on opening day, Sept. 9 against the Miami Dolphins at FedExField.
"LaRon has put himself in a position so that everyone feels comfortable around him," assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said. "The opportunities that he has had this preseason caused his teammates to notice that they play better when he is in there. He has built trust in a lot of people."
Landry showed enough bursts of talent in the preseason opener at Tennessee to get Redskins fans excited about what he can bring to the defense. He was quick and decisive in making a pair of tackles and planting a hit on Titans' QB Kerry Collins.
"I love contact and I love to be physical as a football player," Landry said.
He recently recounted his days playing youth football for the team his father coached. He played both quarterback and defensive back.
"As I got older my dad moved me to quarterback, but I would always play both sides of the ball," he said. "So when I played quarterback he used to tell me to go out of bounds, but I always said 'No' and tried to run over them."
Along with physicality, Williams requires his players to have football smarts as well. He often relies on safeties to make calls at the line of scrimmage, along with the middle linebacker.
It would appear that would be one area that Landry would have to make the biggest adjustment, but Williams is not concerned.
"That won't be a problem with him," Williams said. "He is more than sharp enough, more than vocal enough. He has had to do that in his career anyway. He was the guy that was looked upon to do that [at LSU], so he can surely handle it."
Landry has also taken steps toward showing that he can pair with Sean Taylor to give the Redskins a pair of playmakers at safety in 2007.
"I think we'll match up real well," Landry said. "The only thing we have to work on is communication. If we communicate well, then we'll be fine."