Early in Redskins training camp, coaches asked rookie safety DeJon Gomes to learn multiple positions and multiple formations. It turned out to be a little overwhelming for the 2011 fourth-round draft pick.
So coaches simplified Gomes' assignments for the Redskins' first preseason game on Aug. 12 vs. Pittsburgh.
Gomes had a standout performance, sacking quarterback Dennis Dixon for a 15-yard loss and finished with two tackles overall.
He had another strong game in last Thursday's preseason game vs. Baltimore. He posted seven tackles, second-best on the defense, and recovered a fumble.
Gomes has experience playing both cornerback and safety in college at Nebraska, so his versatility is valued by Redskins coaches.
It may take some time for 5-11, 200-pounder to fully absorb the defensive playbook. Perhaps that's to be expected given the fact that rookies had no off-season work with the club due to the NFL lockout.
"I've been picking up the defense and there's still a whole lot for me to learn," Gomes said. "The veterans we have and [safeties coach] Steve Jackson have helped me a lot."
LaRon Landry and Oshiomogho Atogwe are the Redskins' starters at safety, but they have been slowed by hamstring injuries in preseason. Landry remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list for now.
Landry hopes to be ready to play for the Redskins' regular season opener against the New York Giants.
If he's not, then that could open the door for Gomes to secure a roster spot and possibly earn playing time in the season opener.
"Whatever the coaches ask me to do, I'm going to do it to the best of my abilities," he said.
Gomes is likely competing for a roster spot with fourth-year veteran Chris Horton and second-year player Anderson Russell.
In two seasons at Nebraska, Gomes posted 145 tackles, one sack, seven interceptions (one of which he returned for a touchdown), 12 pass break-ups and five forced fumbles.