Jay Gruden confirmed Wednesday that the Redskins pursued some of the free agent safeties that hit the open market earlier this month but were not able to close any deals.
The tentative plan now? Get Phillip Thomas healthy, coach up the players who are on the roster, and perhaps add another safety via the draft in May.
“With have Phillip Thomas coming back from injury, so that’s exciting,” Gruden told reporters at the NFL’s annual meeting in Orlando. “We still have [Bacarri] Rambo, we re-signed [Brandon] Meriweather. We have to do a better job of coaching them and getting them in better position. It could be a position we’re looking for in the draft, as a lot [teams] are.”
GM Bruce Allen recently acknowledged that Thomas, who missed his entire rookie season after suffering a Lisfranc injury in the preseason, had been penciled in as a starter before getting hurt. And now, the hope is that Thomas will be sufficiently recovered from the tricky injury and that he might slide into a significant role in 2014.
“We have confidence that he’s going to get back,” Gruden said. “I haven’t seen him move around or run around yet. But [head athletic trainer Larry Hess] says he’s doing a fine job with rehabbing and we’re hoping he’ll be ready to go.”
As for the free agents the Redskins unsuccessfully pursued, Gruden didn’t name names. But he hinted the players they were targeting did not represent enough of an upgrade to break the bank in order to sign.
“We were looking at some of the free agents and it didn’t quite work out because… we felt like Phillip Thomas coming back, and resigning Brandon, and Rambo coming back with some experience, that we have some guys in place that can do the job,” Gruden said. “We just have to do it better. And we have very good confidence that Raheem [Morris] is a heck of a secondary coach and these young players have to step up and play.”