Haslett raves about new addition to Redskins' secondary

Jim Haslett coached new Washington Redskins safety O.J. Atogwe before, so he’s got a real good feel what the free-agent pickup will bring to the defense.

The plan is to keep LaRon Landry, the former first-round draft pick who flourished at strong safety in 2010, near the line of scrimmage and let Atogwe roam in space where he’s had 22 interceptions and forced 22 fumbles since becoming a starter for the St. Louis Rams in 2006.

“(Landry) makes more tackles,” Haslett told Larry Weisman of the team’s Web site. “He’s covered more tight ends this way. He’s not out in space. He’s a really good blitzer. He’s much better toward the line of scrimmage than he is out in space, where O.J. can do both but he’s better in space than he is at the line of scrimmage so it’s a good complement. I think we got the ideal fit. One guy close to the ball, one guy more in space.”

Haslett recalled a teaching moment he had with Atogwe during a game when he was working as the Rams defensive coordinator.

“We’re playing San Diego, and LaDanian Tomlinson comes flying through the line and stiff-arms O.J and knocks his helmet off and he gets run over for like a 15-yard game,” Haslett said. “So I said to him, ‘O.J., don’t ever let anyone stiff-arm you. When it comes, the first thing you do is knock the arm down and reach for the ball because the ball is not secure enough when he stiff-arms.’ About 10 plays later, LT comes through the line, he goes to stiff-arm him, O.J. knocks the ball down, punches it out, and from that point on it’s kind of his M.O. He’ll rip balls out.”

Now, the Redskins have to go about fixing the front end of their defense, the area where they have gotten about zip from Albert Haynesworth the past two seasons. Haslett called the front four “in flux.” He’s not kidding.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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