Survivor Spotlight: Defensive Backfield

Does Jimoh have the inside track?

It appears to be shaping up as four players battling for two jobs in the defensive backfield as the Redskins prepare to cut to 53.

The battle to make the Redskins roster in the defensive backfield is coming down to the final days. After this week's cuts, there were 13 DB's left on the roster. Seven of them are certainties to make the final 53, barring injury. They are corners Shawn Springs, Carlos Rogers and Walt Harris and safeties Sean Taylor, Matt Bowen, Ryan Clark, and Pierson Prioleau. Two are extreme long shots to make it at this point, CB Eric Joyce and S Siddeeq Shabazz. Those nine players are not part of this discussion.

That leaves four players, safety Omar Stoutmire and corners Ade Jimoh, Garnell Wilds, and Rufus Brown. The Redskins will probably keep five corners and four safeties or vice versa, so the math tells us that these four players are battling for two spots. Who will be the odd men out?

Stoutmire is an eight-year veteran and is the only member of the quartet that has an NFL interception or sack to his credit; he has recorded five of each during his career with Dallas and the New York Jets and Giants. That experience and the fact that Bowen and Clark have been dinged by injuries during camp and the preseason games help his cause greatly.

Should Stoutmire make it, that leaves Jimoh, who has two years of experience, Wilds, who has played in two games, and Brown, who appeared in one, going at it for one last spot in the defensive backfield.

Wilds and Brown are similar in a lot of ways, although Wilds is listed at being two inches taller than Brown. They are both undrafted free agents who spend most of last year on the Redskins' practice squad after having been cut in the preseason. Neither is the fluid type of corner that seems to effortlessly stay with a receiver, they both rely on aggressiveness, hustle, and quickness to be able to cover. Neither has distinguished himself in practice or in the exhibition games, but neither has look particularly bad either.

The best thing working in Jimoh's favor is the two years of film the coaches have on file of him playing special teams, which he does very well. The main thing working against Jimoh's chances are the two years of film the coaches have on file of him playing cornerback, which he doesn't do well at all. Over the past two seasons, Jimoh on the other side of the line has been a welcome sight for opposing receivers, whether they were turning him around with a simple out pattern or leaving him in their dust on a deep route.


Jimoh (23) has a developed a number of great,
athletic moves while chasing opposing receivers.

However, it hasn't hurt Jimoh when it comes to making the team or, for that matter, being one of the 45 active on game day. He has appeared in 31 of a possible 32 games since he has been with the team.

If not for the injuries at safety, the move would probably be to cut Stoutmire and keep Jimoh as strictly a special teams guy and then choose between Brown and Wilds for the fourth corner. But assuming that Stoutmire stays around leaving just one corner spot open, special teams again should get Ade Jimoh another season in Burgundy and Gold.

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