With Brandon Meriweather sidelined for the remainder of the season, DeJon Gomes figures to get something rare on Thursday: a second chance to prove he’s capable of starting in the NFL.
“Anytime you’re blessed to get a second opportunity you have to make the most of it,” Gomes said this week. “Honestly, in this league, a lot of guys don’t get that opportunity.”
Although the starting lineup won’t be announced until game time, it’s expected that Gomes will replace Meriweather as the Redskins’ strong safety when they face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Meriweather suffered a season-ending knee injury Sunday against the Eagles.
For Gomes, it’s a new beginning.
When Meriweather wasn’t ready to start the season because of a different knee injury, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett turned to Gomes. And Gomes rewarded Haslett’s confidence in him – at first.
Gomes tied for the team lead in tackles in the Redskins’ season opening victory in New Orleans. He also returned a fourth-quarter interception 49-yards deep into Saints territory.
But Gomes’ fast start gave way to hard times. He struggled in coverage against Cincinnati and found himself replaced by veteran Reed Doughty in Tampa Bay. After that, Gomes was mostly relegated to spot duty and special teams assignments.
But Haslett said Gomes earned another look with his play in the second half against the Eagles. In the Redskins’ 31-6 victory, the 23-year-old defended two passes and had a pair of tackles. He added two tackles on special teams, too.
“He played well,” Haslett said. “He needs to step up and play at a high level the rest of the time. This is a second opportunity for him to go out there and show what he can do. I thought he played extremely well in the first game and wasn’t as good as we would have liked in the second, third and fourth games.”
Haslett hopes it’s not a lesson Gomes is forced to learn twice.
“If I learned anything, it’s that you have to stay consistent in this league,” Gomes said. “When you get out there, you have to do your job. If you don’t, you get replaced really easily.”