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Allen: Thomas was going to start at safety last year

Mar 22, 2014, 10:55 AM EDT


In an interview with the Washington Post, Bruce Allen revealed a nugget of information that could have major implications for the Redskins’ 2014 defensive secondary.

Allen talked about the safety position and the team’s 2013 fourth-round pick.

“Phillip Thomas, we had high hopes for him last year,” said Allen. “He was going to start for us and he ended up missing the year.”

Thomas suffered a Lisfranc injury in the first preseason game last year and that is what cost him the season. But even before that he never was viewed as a starter. It was fellow rookie safety Bacarri Rambo, who was taken in the sixth round, who was lining up with the first team defense early in training camp. Rambo started the season at safety but he was benched after two games due to issues in, well, just about every aspect of the job.

The fact that Thomas wasn’t lining up with the first team in late July and early August doesn’t mean that there weren’t plans to bring him along and have him ready to play with the first team by the time the season started or, more likely, at some point during the season.

But that’s all in the past. What Allen said has implications for this coming season. If they were going to have Thomas groomed to be a starter last year it stands to reason that they will do the same thing this year.

This would explain the lack of urgency to lock up safeties in free agency. If they believe that have a starter in house in Thomas they could afford to be patient to fill in the second hole. They brought back Brandon Meriweather on a one-year contract earlier this week.

Let’s be clear here; at no point during OTAs, minicamp, or early training camp did any observers say that Thomas looked like a player who should have been working with the first unit. He didn’t look particularly bad; he looked like a rookie who was learning his way. Different players catch on at different rates so we have no way of knowing if could have started at some point.

And we don’t know if another offseason program (assuming that Thomas is healthy enough to participate) and a full training camp this year will get Thomas ready to start. But it seems that he will have the opportunity to do so and the team may be banking on him being able to do it.

  1. cowboyhater - Mar 22, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think of Thomas as a starter in this defense. My issue was that I thought he was drafted as a FS and not a SS. In preseason last year, they had him line up as a SS, but in college he played FS and was a ball hawk. I’m assuming he will be placed in his natural FS position, while Merriweather mans the SS this year?…..

    • Bryan - Mar 22, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      Yea I’d place him at fs as well . I think meriweather is a better ss in our defense. I’d say if they don’t draft ward or the fsu safety in the 2nd or 3 rd that u will see thomas given the opportunity to start at fs. But I guess Haslett n Raheem seem comfortable with these guys or I do believe Allen would have brought n a high prices guy.

  2. coachemup1 - Mar 22, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    I would like to think this is the missing piece to the puzzle. But being penciled in as a last resort starter on last years penalized team doesn’t mean a lot to me. Maybe he is a starter, or maybe he was best of the worst.

  3. Sj216 - Mar 22, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    I like the prospects of Thomas starting. I think most acknowledge that Thomas had 2/3 round grades last year, and we were fortunate to get him in the 4th. Luckily we went for Reed in 3rd and got Thomas in 4th. It’d be nice for the staff to actually develop some of the players that they draft. I think with an improved defensive staff, perhaps scheme, and another year in the system that Thomas and other’s can show some improvements that allow them to build a core on defense.

  4. lpddawg - Mar 22, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    I really liked Thomas comeing out last year and was hollering for the Skins to take him with their 2nd pick.Then they ended up getting him in the 4th.lolBut dude was a beast in college and I would rather take my lumps with him learning on the job than some retread that wont be here in a year or two.At least there is upside to Thomas.We shall see.

  5. kenlinkins - Mar 22, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    Thomas should have one advantage over a 2014 draft pick at Safety and that is he had a half a training camp and many hours to take mental reps learning the NFL game, also, I am sure he got to hear and see all about Rambo’s failures in meetings and film study, but any way you spin it, Thomas is a big question mark at this point. Over the last four years the Redskins have done a very poor job developing middle and low level draft picks into starters, Special team players and even back ups. This year we will see if it was “The Pick” or “lack of coaching” that caused the poor results. Either way guys like Gomes, Thompson, Bernstiene, Thomas and Rambo have not been the answer to date. IMO the Redskins will be making a mistake if they do not draft another Safety with the 2nd or 3rd pick in 2014. Plan B would be to draft a Big type CB and move him to Free Safety as this draft is very deep at CB and you could find one later (rounds 4,5 or 6) that might give you better results in 2014. I know everyone wants to give RG3 more help with OL & WR’s, but IMO we should be drafting DB’s early and often in 2014 as next to QB, OLB, and LT they are the hardest to find and we are set at QB, OLB and LT. Thomas will be in the mix but I am looking for a bigger, younger, uninjured group to pick from. To quote Rich: “Hope is not a plan” and counting on Thomas is nothing more than hope at this point.

  6. barrymoyer - Mar 22, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Thomas is an unknown at this point and counting on him to step up is reckless. Merriweather tackles with his head and gets penalties. Rambo should be bagging groceries (at Safeway, not Harris Teeter). We know the teams’ major weakness is Safety, so go proactive rather than passive in solving the problem and grab somebody like Ward at 34.
    Why is this so hard?

    • sire2334 - Mar 22, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      My man can’t even bag at Harris Teeter?? Lmao!

    • internetcareer - Mar 22, 2014 at 5:58 PM

      from my point of view….AND from your point of view yes it looks like the Skins haven’t done anything to solve the ONGOING safety problem. Well actually from anybody’s point of view the Redskins haven’t done anything to solve the ongoing safety problem.

      I agree. Why haven’t they signed Ryan Clark? Are they waiting for him to sign with someone else? Allen and Snyder have already proven that they can be prudent in spending….point made…so now is the time to put out a little tiny bit more money to actually SOLVE an ongoing problem, at least for the next 12 months or until one of the young guys can develop.

      You and me both asking…. why is this so hard?

  7. lpddawg - Mar 22, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    The sad thing about all this is we would be set at safety still if not for the tragic murder of S.Taylor.It just makes you wonder how different things might be right now.Like would Landry have turned out any differently playing only SS during his time with the Skins.We spent two very high draft picks on Safety just a few years apart and should have been set there for a decade.Just a tragic set of events all the way around.

    • Zach - Mar 22, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      Very well said. Not a day goes by that this does not cross my mind. But things being the way they are, we need 2 DBs and an OT with our first 3 picks, no particular order, I prefer best available.

  8. dsdavila - Mar 22, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    Interesting info, but why not confirm his current health status instead of resorting to “assuming that he is healthy enough enough to participate” in this year’s training camp?

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 22, 2014 at 3:46 PM

      Still trying to get that info. Very hard to get injury updates this time of year. At the time, it was stated that it was a 4-5 month recovery. I happened in early August so five months is the end of December. Have heard of no setbacks.

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 22, 2014 at 3:55 PM

        We will know more when the OTA’s roll round.

        In the meantime, I think your mock of Jimmie Ward to us at 34 makes sense.

        (Although I would love to see us get Odell Beckham, Jr., somehow or some way…)

        • internetcareer - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:01 PM

          Jimmy Ward? not particularly fast. Is he suppose to keep up with Desean Jackson? Really? How is a slow free safety any better than Rambo…or Thomas.

        • timwillhidetimwillhide - Mar 23, 2014 at 3:12 PM

          Anyone who thinks they would have a Safety covering a WR. Really doesn’t know much about football and shouldn’t be commenting.

      • Ken - Mar 23, 2014 at 1:27 AM

        I just think they’re being penny wise/pound foolish. If they can throw away (IMO) 3 mil a year on Porter they could have easily signed R Clark who would have at least given us a competent FS while we see what we have this year in Thomas and Rambo. To me it’s a no brainer even if we draft another S on day 2, which I hope we don’t . To start the year with no proven competent FS on the roster and expect a different result on the field is the definition of football insanity.

  9. dcsportsfan2277 - Mar 22, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    If we are lucky enough to get Beckham at #34 then I will be dancing a jig all over the place! Dude is a beast and would be a great pick, however I believe he will be long gone by then. If we can somehow get up to the middle of the first then Ha Ha or Pryor will be available at safety or the next best CB available. This draft is very deep in WR’s and CB’s and if it does not hurt to bad to move up we should be able to get our safety or CB of the future! Get it done Bruce! HTTR!

    • Tim Heath - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:04 AM

      I’d rather have Robinson. Odel isn’t big enough. We need a WR with some size.

    • Tim Heath - Mar 24, 2014 at 2:05 AM

      Plus trading up is a really dumb idea. Beyond dumb!

  10. Lex - Mar 22, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    We need a Safety! Thomas played in a soft division with teams like Wyoming and Air Force, it will be years before he can start if ever. I suggest trading into Rd 1 for Clinton Dix.

  11. internetcareer - Mar 22, 2014 at 5:44 PM

    In my opinion. Haslett is not a good defensive coordinator and has scatter brain poor judgement. He has been quoted as saying in an interview which I watched that “Cofield is the best nose tackle in the game”. Well….Cofield isn’t even a good Nose tackle much less the best. Haslett has put a small defensive tackle in at Nose Tackle….and he doesn’t appear to be able to recognize that fact, EVEN AS COFIELD ROUTINELY GETS PUSHED BACK AND OUT OF THE WAY.

    So Haslett wanted to take a Free Safety from college, and turn him into a Strong Safety? No doubt that was Haslett’s idea because it reflects his poor ability to judge. Good thing he is not the offensive coordinator or he might try to force Pierre Garcon to be the Fullback….after all you just plug people in and then call them the best in the NFL….right?

    I;m not saying that Phillips couldn’t be a strong safety…I just wonder why the Skins have always seemed to take a player and switch him around as though all players are interchangeable…..because they aren’t. Perhaps this is one reason that the Redskins have finished last in the NFC EAST 4 out of 5 years.

    • internetcareer - Mar 22, 2014 at 6:04 PM

      should read Thomas not Phillips. Typo error.

  12. Rich Tandler - Mar 22, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    You guys should stop talking about trading up in the first round, at least to the point where they can get some of the guys you’re talking about. To get to 20th they would have to give up their picks in rounds 2, 3, and 4. Would be beyond dumb in a draft this deep.

    • Tim Heath - Mar 24, 2014 at 1:57 AM

      My thoughts exactly. Those kind of moves are what put the skins in the hole they are in. How can people think trading away our future for one player who could just as well be a bust, is a good idea. I laugh everytime I see someone suggest trading up. Worst idea ever!!

  13. kenlinkins - Mar 22, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    Moving up in the draft will just cost way to much unless you can work a deal with Cleveland which includes Cousins and our 2nd round pick. That might move us up about 10 spots to number 26 and I am not sure the top 2 Safeties will be there then so why do it. IMO we should try for CB Roby, Fuller or Jean-Bartisie in the 2nd as all could play Safety in most sub-packages right away and be Special Team members. 3rd round OT, 4th WR/TE, 5th 6th and 7th start looking for 2 level, CB or Safeties again like P Gains, Aikens, Johnson (NC) or Smith (Lou) that might develop in back ups or start on Special Teams or maybe find a OG, or WR if real value shows up. I know most want to draft a WR early but the Redskins concerns at DB should be handled first IMO. With so many ideas Draft Day is going to be fun to watch.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 23, 2014 at 5:27 AM

      This is a draft where you want quantity. You don’t take an asset like Cousins and burn him to move up 10 spots to get a player who may not be better than the one you can get staying where you are. The Redskins are not at a point where they should target specific players. They need to take the best player they can get.

  14. kenlinkins - Mar 23, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    Rich, let me clarify my post a bit, I was agreeing that moving up makes no sense and I would agree with your last statement (They need to take the best player they can get) if you add “at a position on need”. I do not think the Redskins will take a QB, RB, OG or DT with the 34th pick even if they are the best player on the board. I think most teams target a player or small group of players for their first pick (i.e. Their Guy) at a position of need and then move to picking the best they can get. I will not insult you by asking if Johnny Football was on the board should the Redskins take him as we both know football better than that, but would you take the 2nd best TE, C, OG, RB if he fell to the Redskins?

    • kenlinkins - Mar 23, 2014 at 1:02 PM

      How did Thomas win the FS job in the first half of the First preseason game as a rookie? Can that be done? I do not know what he showed at training camp before he was hurt, but it must have been some thing to watch. Now if the GM said “we drafted him with the idea that he could start for us in 2013 as we had him rated much higher than a 4th round pick and were waiting for him to show us he was moving to that goal before he got hurt” I would feel better about the GM’s statement.

  15. michael - Mar 24, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    Yeah bank on it like the did last year….maybe not a very wise decision. I am still pissed our coaching and training staff drove landry out the doors years ago! If only it was this years coaching staff then

    • Waxxx4321 - Mar 26, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      Landry? Are you serious? He was hurt most of the time that he was here. He was rebelling against the coaching staff. They brought him here to be a great safety and learn from the late great Sean Taylor. Thats who and the only person you should be mad about. Landry hasnt done much since leaving the skins anyway. He was a bigger draw here. I am glad Landry is gone even though we need a lot of help with the safeties. Archives

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