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Redskins Must Handle Landry With Care

Redskins have to find a way to keep Landry happy, healthy in 2011

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 19: LaRon Landry #30 of the Washington Redskins celebrates a sack of Matt Schaub #8 of the Houston Texans at FedExField on September 19, 2010 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins lead the Texans at the half 20-7. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

    Redskins safety LaRon Landry has been sidelined since November 15 of last year with a strained Achilles injury and subsequent hamstring injury suffered while working out before the team’s preseason game in Indianapolis. Yet he told reporters several weeks ago he expected to return in time for this Sunday’s season opener against the New York Giants.

    Now he’s hinted at a possible setback via his Twitter account.

    “Uuhhh oo it ain't my fault...blame the genius circus staff for the rush. wouldve been there 2wks ago. Im [sorry] but saga [continues],” he said on Tuesday.

    It may not be perfect grammar, but it’s pretty clear the news is anything but good.

    This offseason the Redskins added safety Oshiomogho Atogwe to play alongside Landry, but they have yet to take the field with each other. Atogwe has battled through a hamstring injury and is likely to play against the Giants.

    However, on Wednesday Landry all but ruled himself out against the Giants, leaving the Redskins without half their safety tandem.

    Landry appeared to be taking the first steps on his road to becoming an NFL star last year before his injury. He had embraced his role closer to the line of scrimmage, accumulating 85 tackles in just nine games.

    It wasn’t just the stats that indicated his progression; it was his attitude on the field. He posed, strutted and flexed his way to the top of opposing teams gameplans, ratcheting up the intimidation factor on a defense attempting a switch to the 3-4 scheme.

    If the preseason has shown anything it’s that Washington’s defense will be much improved in their second year in the 3-4. Unfortunately, Landry’s absence will certainly diminish what they can do as a unit.

    That’s not to say backup safety Reed Doughty can’t contribute. He’s performed admirably whenever the Redskins have called his number and it’s why they re-signed him to a three-year deal this offseason. He’s a quality depth player who can fill in at a moment’s notice.

    Yet depth is the key word. Doughty isn’t a starter and the sooner Landry comes back, the better.

    Though he doesn’t always play like it, Landry is one of the more gifted defensive backs in the NFL. Few possess his combination of speed, size and strength and should he miss an extended period of time, it’s likely to affect what defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has planned for 2011.

    It could also impact the Redskins' decision on what to do with Landry after his contract expires at the end of the year. His strained Achilles wasn’t fully healed after months of rehab and the hamstring injury poses another concern. If he does anything to further tweak the injuries, there’s no telling how long he could remain sidelined.

    It doesn’t help the team or Landry if he misses the season and that’s why the timing of his return is so important. Rushing him back only to have him go down with a serious injury kills his chances at a huge payday in 2012. A lengthy stay on the bench waiting to get back to 100 percent might lead to the same result.

    Both scenarios also leave him with a sour taste in his mouth in regards to the Redskins organization.

    Landry is chomping at the bit to return to the field, but judging by his Twitter account isn’t happy with the way the training staff has handled his injury. You can point a finger at whomever you want, but this setback doesn’t bode well.

    Landry is too valuable to lose to either free agency or a career-threatening injury and that’s why the entire situation is so precarious. It’s not often a player knows best when it comes to gauging his ability to suit up and play but perhaps this is one time where the Redskins let Landry come back on his own terms.

    As long as he’s content and productive by season’s end, it shouldn’t matter anyway.