Reed Doughty: Washington Redskins' Best Safety

Adam HankinsCorrespondent IJune 11, 2010

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 23  Safety Reed Doughty #37 of the Washington Redskins looks over at the sideline during the NFL preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on August, 23, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

He doesn't talk a lot of trash, and he doesn't often make the highlight reels for the biggest hits. He doesn't complain about his playing time and he doesn't whine about his contract.

What does Reed Doughty do? He makes tackles, he prevents big plays, and rarely makes mistakes.

In 2009, Doughty ranked third on the team in tackles with 91, despite being a starter for only seven games, and being limited by back and ankle injuries. He doesn't miss tackles because his technique is fundamentally sound—he wraps up, rather than just lowering his shoulder for a big hit.

Contrast Doughty's tackling technique with Laron Landry's—Landry rarely tries to wrap up on his tackles and is always looking for the big hit. The result—a lot of Landry's tackling attempts are whiffs, and offensive players often bounce off for bigger gains.

Doughty is also very reliable in the passing game. He rarely misses assignments and this is due in large part to his intelligence. Like every other aspect of his game, Doughty plays smart and disciplined, and it's hard for an offense to beat a defender that has done his homework.

Once again, contrasting Doughty's pass coverage ability to Laron Landry's—how many times in 2009 was Landry suckered by a receiver's double move or a quarterback's fake pump, only to result in a huge offensive gain?

Too many times—in fact, a sickening number of times.

Reed Doughty understands the importance of the safety's first priority—preventing the big play. Rather than looking for an interception or a bone-crushing hit on every play, Doughty looks for the opportunity to make a solid stop.

While Doughty is the least impressive of the safeties in terms of athleticism, he is the most impressive in terms of heart, intelligence, and discipline. These same qualities should win him the starter's job at free safety this season.

Last, but not least, don't forget about Doughty's toughness. He recently broke his hand in OTA's, but he hasn't let it slow him down. He had a cast put on it, and then he went back to work. That's TOUGH. 

Doughty recently signed his second round tender contract for $1.76 million to play this season. In a league full of players like Albert Haynesworth who have a sense of entitlement, and give less than their best, it's great to see a player like Doughty who gives everything he has for a relatively tiny contract.

Mike Shanahan wants to change the entire culture and team mindset of the Washington Redskins. If he is successful at that, he will need more players like Reed Doughty who unquestionably give all of themselves toward the goal of making the team successful. 

Men like Reed Doughty are what championship teams are made of.


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