Doughty helps boost struggling 'Skins defense

Doughty helps boost struggling 'Skins defense
October 12, 2013, 10:45 am
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Redskins aren't underestimating Tony Romo

For much of his eight-season tenure in Washington, Reed Doughty has been the Redskins’ safety net in the secondary. If a starter struggled or suffered an injury, coaches have often turned to No. 37. 

This season has been no different.

After using rookie Bacarri Rambo against the Eagles and Packers and a one-safety system against the Lions, Doughty found himself back where he finished the 2012 season: in the starting lineup against Oakland.

The 30-year-old Doughty joined fellow safety Brandon Meriweather and together the veterans provided the defense with a boost, particularly against the run. Doughty finished the afternoon with seven combined tackles—the third highest total on the team behind inside linebackers London Fletcher and Perry Riley—as the defense recorded season bests in yards allowed (298) and points permitted (14).

“It’s been the story of my career,” Doughty said this week. “So I’ve always stayed ready. When they call my number and fit me into the game plan, I’m going to play and play as well as I can.”

Still, that doesn’t mean it was easy for him to return to a reserve role in the first three games after starting 11 times in ’12, including the final four contests in the regular season and the playoff game against Seattle. But having been on the emotional roller coaster previously, Doughty was prepared for the ups and downs of not knowing when—or if—his number would be called.

“In my eight years,” he said, “I’ve done this six years, where I played a lot of snaps and started a lot of games. I’m kind of used to not knowing week to week if I’m going to be that guy or not. I know I’m going to be a special teams player, then I’ll see what I’m going to be doing in the game plan.”

Doughty also knows the Redskins’ secondary is going to be tested Sunday night in Dallas.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is coming off of a career day. In last week's 51-48 loss to the Broncos, he threw for 506 yards and five touchdowns, while connecting with eight different pass catchers. Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten, meantime, finished with over 120 receiving yards apiece and at least one touchdown.

“They’re dynamic,” Doughty said. “Romo keeps plays alive. I don’t think he gets enough credit. I do think he’s a good quarterback. He has Witten, Dez Bryant. They have a lot of weapons. Everyone is going to have to play their best football Sunday.”

Stopping the Cowboys’ offense, though, isn’t all Doughty wants to see the Redskins accomplish at AT&T Stadium. As the captain of the struggling special teams unit, he wants to see an increased sense of urgency across the board.

“Anytime you give up a blocked punt, you’re not going to be looked at in a positive light,” he said, referring to the unit’s first quarter gaffe in Oakland. “I just try to lead the best way I can and that’s by example. Do my job. That’s the big thing—everyone needs to their job and play with intensity. It’s a different unit than we had last year, a lot of guys that haven’t necessarily played together. And we’re running a little bit of a different system. It takes a little time. But if you play with effort and you play with intensity the rest will take care of itself.”