Strong safety LaRon Landry becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) at the end of this season. After being placed on Injured Reserve (IR) this past week, the Redskins must now decide whether to bring him back next season.
Landry was placed on IR this week because of a lingering Achilles injury, bringing his two-season game total to 17. He started in every game he played in and recorded 35 tackles with one forced fumble for this season.
Landry has been looking at a myriad of rehabilitation options as well as getting a consultation from Dr. Robert Anderson, a foot and ankle specialist who recommended surgery. With this being an ongoing ailment for Landry all season, the Redskins had no option but to place him on IR.
The Redskins now face the difficult decision of whether or not they will be bringing back Landry, their first round selection from the 2007 draft and coincidentally the last safety to team up with the late Sean Taylor. A large component in their decision is how he recovers from either surgery or a regiment of rehab on his Achilles.
However, in his limited play last season he had 85 tackles in nine games, which is a pace of more than 160 tackles for the season. That number is remarkable for a strong safety. The coaching staff of the team has been in awe of Landry since he was drafted.
In October of 2010, Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said, “The guy’s unbelievable. He’s got the same speed all the time, and as a coach I love coaching guys like that. ‘Cause he does whatever you ask, he’s full speed, plays hard, and he’s the guy that can make plays. You gotta put him in the right situation, and you can do a lot of things with him.”
This ability to play in many different situations has proven to be vital for the Redskins defense. Haslett has relied on Landry in the past to try and expose an opponent’s weakness on offense.
This trust from the coaching staff is a big reason that the team seems to under perform even when two capable safeties in Dejon Gomes and Reed Doughty have had to replace Landry during his injuries.
Though the defense looses some identity when Landry sits out, it isn’t the sole reason to bring him back next season.
A larger motive can be found in his current teammate and former St. Louis Rams safety O.J. Atogwe. During the off-season the team looked at what they had on the back end of their defense and believed that bringing Atogwe to work with Landry would lead to a lot of success for the team.
Though this was a worthy plan, it has not panned out yet because Atogwe himself has been dealing with injuries. However, letting this idea come to fruition could be a big reason why the Redskins would bring back Landry at the right price by either signing him to a short term deal or using the franchise tag.
Landry is in a tough spot with his health but his talent is unquestioned and the current coaching regime seems to be invested in a team that needs him. That might be enough to garner him one more chance with the Redskins.