The Washington Commanders releasing Landon Collins felt inevitable. While Collins underwent a revenge tour of sorts in 2021, he was simply injured too often and too inconsistent on the field before he changed positions last season.
Given the Commanders’ lack of depth in the secondary, though, fans were open to a Collins reunion in the offseason. The Buffalo nickel role accentuated Collins’ skillset, and he became a real difference-maker for Jack Del Rio’s defense.
When push came to shove, Washington steered clear of Collins and that decision is validated seemingly with each passing week. While Collins hasn’t contributed much of anything since returning to the Giants, the emergence of Darrick Forrest makes the move look like a stroke of genius by the front office.
After notching an interception and a fumble recovery in Washington’s upset in Philadelphia, Forrest logged another INT in Sunday’s win over the Texans.
The second-year safety showed off incredible ball skills and body control to stay in bounds and complete the acrobatic turnover, proving once again that he’s evolving into the ballhawk Washington fans hoped Collins would be.
Darrick Forrest is becoming everything the Commanders thought they were getting in Landon Collins.
It’s pretty obvious at this point that Forrest is a foundational piece for the Commanders. In the secondary, he joins Kam Curl and Benjamin St-Juste as building blocks for the future. It wasn’t long ago Collins was viewed in a similar light.
Returning to the upstart Giants with fresh legs had folks worried Collins would become a weapon for defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. Instead, the former All-Pro is still searching for his first snaps under head coach Brian Daboll.
With Xavier McKinney sidelined following an ATV accident, fans in East Rutherford are puzzled why Collins hasn’t been promoted from the practice squad the last two weeks. Commanders fans are all too familiar with this discourse.
In Sunday’s loss to the Lions, tight end Lawrence Cager was the only player elevated from the Giants’ practice squad. With Tony Jefferson eligible to return from injured reserve and McKinney just a few weeks away from returning, it’s not crazy to think Collins could get released for the second time this year.
Forrest, meanwhile, just got promoted to a starting role. It was long overdue, but Washington is finally content starting Bobby McCain in the slot. Forrest entered Week 10 as Pro Football Focus’ second-highest graded safety (only Kam Curl is higher), and he’s now accounted for three of the team’s six interceptions.
The 2021 fifth-round pick out of Cincinnati has added five passes defended and two forced fumbles, while committing just one (!) penalty and allowing a 55.2% completion rate when targeted and a 65.3 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks.
And to think Collins could’ve been taking snaps away from this stud! The Commanders’ front office has taken its fair share of lumps over the years, but they deserve credit for (basically) choosing Forrest over Collins.
It’s early, but the former Bearcat looks like one of Ron Rivera’s best draft picks since he took over Washington in 2020.