As the offense approached the line of scrimmage, Redskins defensive backs coach Raheem Morris yelled at rookie safety Bacarri Rambo to move closer to the line and defend.
Though the scene happened at Thursday’s Organized Team Activities in Ashburn, Morris’ voice seemed like the play could have been happening in mid-November. The coach wanted to see intensity from his rookie safety.
The ball was snapped and Rambo was in coverage, wrestling for position with tight end Niles Paul.
Paul ran a veer route, taking off on the right side of the offensive line, heading for the left sideline.
While Paul ran his route, the physicality between the two players intensified. Going into his third season, Paul would not be pushed around by a rookie.
Rambo wanted to hold his ground, especially with the coaches watching.
When the play ended, the rookie from Georgia with the highlight clips and the Hollywood name ended up on the ground.
Rambo’s helmet flew off on contact with the grass, and the rookie immediately popped up into Paul’s face.
The two exchanged words and stares for a few moments, until teammates stepped in to separate the scrum while various players shouted from all directions.
In that moment, it was clear neither player would back down. It was a scene of competition on a rainy day in June, nothing to worry about with the season months away.
But Rambo remembered the play after practice.
“I was a little mad at the moment. I’m over it now,” Rambo said. “That’s my teammate.”
Rambo became a household name in the Southeastern Conference during his junior season when he grabbed eight interceptions for the Bulldogs. Rambo has dynamic talent, but also questionable decision making.
As a junior at Georgia, Rambo was suspended one game for violating the team’s drug and alcohol policy. As a senior, another violation of the policy triggered a four-game suspension.
Rambo has the size and speed to play safety in the NFL, but character questions dropped Georgia’s all-time interception leader to the sixth round of the draft.
If Rambo can eliminate the off-field mistakes that plagued him at Georgia, the Redskins may have a steal on their hands. With his track record for turnovers, Rambo could be the playmaker the Skins secondary needs.
As for Paul, Rambo said that there would be no carryover from the practice squabble.
“I can’t carry it on in the locker room, that was an on-the-field thing,” Rambo explained.
“We’re just out here competing and having fun. Play got a little out of hand, so it made me look a little embarrassed, so I got kind of mad about it, but it’s all over, it’s all good.”