3. Get D.J. Swearinger involved on defense early
This game is a big one for D.J. Swearinger. He is taking on his former team for the first time since leaving in free agency. He spoke early in the week about how this contest will carry extra weight, and it’s clear that he is playing for something in this game, unlike many of the Redskins.
Swearinger has also shown frustration in recent weeks with the effort and preparation of the team. So, he is going to want to come out and be an example for his teammates after calling out everyone in the previous week’s postgame press conference.
With that said, Sunday’s game might be time for Swearinger to put his money where his mouth is and have a big game. He has a reason to play hard and without Zach Brown on the field, the Redskins are going to need someone to provide the energy. That well could be Swearinger this week.
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Getting Swearinger amped up is an easy process. All the coaching staff has to do is design defensive plays early on that put him in a position to make big plays. Obviously, this is harder to predict when creating coverage patterns, so Greg Manusky may try to bring Swearinger closer to or inside the box to help the linebackers. Perhaps calling a couple of blitzes early that involve Swearinger could do a lot to jump start him and get him energized. If that happens, it could rub off on the rest of the defense and in particular, his teammates in the secondary.
There’s no guarantee that Swearinger would be able to succeed on early plays that involve him trying to stop the run or blitz. But it can’t hurt to figure out if he’ll be able to make some splash plays early. The Redskins need some playmakers to step up, and in the right situation, he could be the spark they need to succeed.