Looking at a banged-up secondary, the Washington Redskins have made two additions for some needed depth in the defensive backfield.
In the past couple weeks, the Redskins have lost two defensive backs – DeAngelo Hall (Achilles) and Duke Ihenacho (heel) – for the season, while Tracy Porter (hamstring) and Trenton Robinson (abdomen) have both been limited in recent practices.
Needing to replace two starters and a pair of reserves that saw playing time on both defense and special teams, the Redskins on Monday formally announced the signings of cornerback Richard Crawford and safety Jamarca Sanford.
Sanford joins the Redskins having spendt five seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. Appearing in 70 games – with 44 starts – the former University of Mississippi star has logged 267 tackles (196 solo), 11 pass deflections and two interceptions in his career.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said his staff envisions Sanford being able to help out in multiple areas.
"Sanford has got some experience at obviously safety, and he can help on special teams," Gruden said of Sanford, the 231st-overall pick in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft. "We want to take a good look at him."
Sanford said he hopes to leave his mark on the Redskins' special teams, which have had up and down performances so far in 2014.
"I'm meeting with the special teams coach today," Sanford said Tuesday. "I want to play a big special teams role, so whatever they ask me to do I'm ready to do it. … I'm looking forward to the challenge and look forward to going out and be able to help the team whichever way I can."
Crawford, meanwhile, returns for a second stint with the Redskins. Drafted by the team 213th overall in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Crawford appeared in 10 games his rookie year and recorded 18 tackles and an interception before an injury derailed his 2013 season. He was released from the team's practice squad in September.
Perhaps best known for his 62-yard punt return to set up a game-winning field goal in an overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens late in the 2012 season, Crawford, Gruden said, appears to be the "next man up" in the Redskins' secondary.
"Crawford has got the experience if Porter is still a little bit banged up," Gruden said. "We will need another guy there, so he knows the system."
By making the two signings on Monday, Gruden and his staff will have a full week to evaluate each player and analyze how they fit into Washington's scheme on defense and special teams prior to Monday night's matchup against the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.
"We will make a decision later on in the week of who is up and who is not," the first-year head coach said.