clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Shawn Springs... the safety?

I will not stop repeating it. Go read this.

Last year rumors surfaced that a move of Shawn Springs to safety was a serious possibility for a team that had not yet drafted Landry. A year later and we're without Sean Taylor which has prompted the rumors to return. Per Redskins Insider:

Team sources said there is strong sentiment within the organization that the best move for the Skins D would be to move corner Shawn Springs to safety, to mentor and play alongside young stud LaRon Landry.

Although Jason goes on to note that we really can't afford to do so, at least to open the season. Carlos Rogers is injured, substantially thinning our cornerback unit. Without Rogers we're with Springs/Smoot/Torrence through nickel, and Torrence doesn't strike me as a reliable #2 guy if we were to move Springs to safety. Additionally, Reed Doughty is not a utility player and cannot be moved to cornerback. Someone needs to adopt Byron Westbrook because he's going to see this roster, mark my words.

More on the safety situation from Jason:

Safety is as thin as can be, however. Landry and youngster Reed Doughty held it down as the starters after Sean Taylor's death, and the scouts and execs I speak to continue to be impressed with Doughty's development. "There's guys like Doughty starting for teams all over the league," one personnel exec said. "We like that guy. He could come start for us." However, only Smallish Vernon Fox - primarily a special teams guys - sits behind the two kids. That's it, three safeties on the roster.

Hence the movement to switch Springs over there. The Skins could perhaps still re-sign either Pierson Prioleau or Omar Stoutmire at some point, but overall I would be very surprised if they did not make a concerted effort to grab a safety at some point this weekend.

That's high praise for Doughty. Still, we're an injury away from having Vernon Fox start. Even if the solution is to move Springs over to safety, that means we're an injury away anywhere in the secondary from having Leigh Torrence line up at the #2 cornerback spot (semi-related: Leigh Torrence and Fred Smoot enjoy parties. Witness here.) Does John Eubanks creeping into the nickel spot garner much confidence in our pass defense? Meh, nothing against Eubanks, but we're thin at defensive back.

Once Carlos Rogers returns healthy I'll open up to the idea of Springs at safety. Until then, I'd just as soon have our best cornerback playing where he's best and placing at least as much faith in Doughty as we were willing to expend last year.

For the sake of argument, though, assuming Springs did move to safety, would that require a shift in where Landry plays as well? Springs' strong suit is coverage, and thus he'd be more useful patrolling the deep field, swatting balls and getting picks. That's currently where we have Landry, with Doughty at strong safety used more in run support. If you did have a hypothetical safety unit of Landry and Springs, my intuition is that we'd be better off with Springs at FS and Landry back to SS, where he was playing when Sean Taylor was still with us. Question: Are constant positional shifts counter-productive or are the positions similar enough where it matters little? I didn't notice a drop off in Landry's production when he moved to FS; if anything he only got better. But maybe that's because Landry is a physical freak of nature capable of inhuman things. Or, very plausibly, he was simply improving over the course of his rookie season, wherever he played?

Reader(s), where are you on a Springs to safety move?