Peter King has been a pretty notorious writer, as far as Redskins fans have been concerned. He of course was the one of the main obstacles to Art Monk making the Hall of Fame. Naturally I was surprised when this morning, this is what I find: Mad love for the Redskins.
Move over, Troy Polamalu.
It’s good to be able to watch all the games in the NBC viewing room on Sundays, because it allows me to keep an eye on players around the league. And in the first five weeks of the season, no single defensive player in the league has jumped from relative anonymity to stardom like strong safety LaRon Landry of the Redskins. He leads the NFL in tackles (52) through five weeks, and Sunday, he was the most important Redskin defender in a 16-13 beat down of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Talk about starting and finishing the job: In the first minute of the game, on the first Green Bay series of the day, he creamed tight end Donald Lee and forced a fumble that the Redskins recovered. In the 63rd minute, in overtime, Landry picked off a Rodgers pass intended for the forgotten Greg Jennings; five minutes later, a Graham Gano field goal won the game.
“He’s fast, he’s a hitter and loves to play,” coach Mike Shanahan said after the game. “He’s that way every snap — obviously a great football player.”
Landry was a first-round pick by the Redskins in 2007, and the coach then, Joe Gibbs, wanted to pair him with Sean Taylor long-term to give Washington the most feared set of safeties in the league. But Taylor died that November, and when Gibbs retired after the season, the new regime moved Landry from strong safety to free.
“My rookie year, I felt I was in the right position to take advantage of how aggressive I like to play,” Landry told me last night. “But when the staff changed, coach [Greg] Blache moved me, and nothing against him, I didn’t feel it took advantage of what I did best. As a free safety, I’m kind of the savior back there, sitting back. That’s not how I play best.”
But new coordinator Jim Haslett moved him to strong again, and Landry is comfortable in run-support and the occasional blitz. Against Green Bay, he led a disguising Washington scheme that seemed to frustrate Rodgers all afternoon.
“I think the best is yet to come for me,” he said. And maybe for the Redskins too. They’ve beaten Philadelphia and Dallas already, and they’re tied for first in the NFC East. Landry’s nearly as big a reason for that as Donovan McNabb.
That’s not all, look where he places the Redskins after their Week Five win over Green Bay.
9. Washington (3-2). Won back-to-back big games against good teams, narrowly, in the last eight days.
2. Donovan McNabb, QB, Washington. The last time Washington saw a quarterback with McNabb’s moxie and guts, Billy Kilmer was playing.