In an interview with the Washington Post, Bruce Allen revealed a nugget of information that could have major implications for the Redskins’ 2014 defensive secondary.
Allen talked about the safety position and the team’s 2013 fourth-round pick.
“Phillip Thomas, we had high hopes for him last year,” said Allen. “He was going to start for us and he ended up missing the year.”
Thomas suffered a Lisfranc injury in the first preseason game last year and that is what cost him the season. But even before that he never was viewed as a starter. It was fellow rookie safety Bacarri Rambo, who was taken in the sixth round, who was lining up with the first team defense early in training camp. Rambo started the season at safety but he was benched after two games due to issues in, well, just about every aspect of the job.
The fact that Thomas wasn’t lining up with the first team in late July and early August doesn’t mean that there weren’t plans to bring him along and have him ready to play with the first team by the time the season started or, more likely, at some point during the season.
But that’s all in the past. What Allen said has implications for this coming season. If they were going to have Thomas groomed to be a starter last year it stands to reason that they will do the same thing this year.
This would explain the lack of urgency to lock up safeties in free agency. If they believe that have a starter in house in Thomas they could afford to be patient to fill in the second hole. They brought back Brandon Meriweather on a one-year contract earlier this week.
Let’s be clear here; at no point during OTAs, minicamp, or early training camp did any observers say that Thomas looked like a player who should have been working with the first unit. He didn’t look particularly bad; he looked like a rookie who was learning his way. Different players catch on at different rates so we have no way of knowing if could have started at some point.
And we don’t know if another offseason program (assuming that Thomas is healthy enough to participate) and a full training camp this year will get Thomas ready to start. But it seems that he will have the opportunity to do so and the team may be banking on him being able to do it.