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Jackson Has High Hopes For Atogwe, Safeties


Safeties coach Steve Jackson is feeling fortunate these days.

In his eighth season with the Redskins, Jackson's corps includes two established veterans in LaRon Landry and O.J. Atogwe who can help the defense establish a winning mentality.

"With the experience they have as far as knowing the ins and outs of the game, the production they've had on the field when healthy, I feel fortunate as a coach because my position is loaded," he said. "I feel like a kid at Christmas."

Jackson has high hopes that recently acquired free safety O.J. Atogwe will bring his skills and production to the Redskins and will add another dimension to the defense.

"He's going to give us something a little different that we haven't had," Jackson said. "He's an intelligent free safety, gets turnovers week-in and week-out. He's a guy that's been at the top of the league. He's really going to help us as far as what he brings on the field and off the field."

In 2007, Atogwe had his best season under current Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett when they were both in St. Louis. Atogwe intercepted eight passes and had 12 pass break-ups.

He comes to the Redskins fresh off a season in which he recorded 73 tackles and three interceptions with the Rams.

Jackson expects the experience of Atogwe and Landry will aid the development of younger defensive backs.

"There are so many things that these young college guys don't understand about what it takes to be a professional," Jackson said. "Just getting drafted opens the door for you. Once the door is open, it's your work ethic, it's what you do on the field and off the field, and it's doing the right things every day to be a winner.

"And that's why it's always good to have good leadership around – good players, good coaches, good everything. Because once they get drafted, those are things they need in order to be successful."

The Redskins' defense, 31st last year, struggled making a smooth transition to the 3-4 last year. Jackson is confident those struggles are in the past.

"[Last year] was a learning situation for players and coaches and fans," Jackson said. "Everyone had been geared for 4-3 personnel and it was a big change. Now the players have gotten used to the 3-4, the front office has gotten used to it, and I think you'll see the results on the field this year."

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