Washington Redskins: Is Bacarri Rambo Ready for the Spotlight?

Mike Ploger@@PlogerContributor IISeptember 4, 2013

Aug 24, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson (13) catches a pass in front of Washington Redskins safety Bacarri Rambo (29) at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Fun fact: Bacarri Rambo used to be named Bacarri Fudge. Not a joke, that's real life. It's safe to say the rookie safety has come a long way in life.

For the second year in a row, the Washington Redskins will start a player who was drafted in the sixth round. Last season, it was Alfred Morris, who quickly turned heads during his rookie campaign by gaining a Redskins record 1,613 rushing yards. This year it's Bacarri Rambo's turn to prove doubters wrong.

Four games of preseason work and Rambo has had plenty of ups and downs. On the first play of his second defensive drive, Chris Johnson welcomed him to the NFL with a quick step throwing Rambo right as Johnson burst the other way for a 58-yard touchdown scamper; not exactly a great first impression.

At the time, Rambo's lack of tackling wasn't too big of a wound for Washington, as they had drafted safety Phillip Thomas alongside Rambo just a few months earlier. He was supposed to lead the way at safety after being drafted in the fourth round out of Fresno State. That is, until he injured his ankle against Tennessee and later learned the injury would require surgery.

So, as the first official depth chart is released this week, Bacarri Rambo tops the cake at free safety with just Jordan Pugh sitting behind him. With not many other strong options at the position, Rambo must be ready to go on Monday night when the Eagles make their way into Landover.

It's easy to see that Rambo has progressed significantly since that Week 1 preseason matchup with the Titans. His tackling is considerably better as he no longer breaks down before impact. He sets his eyes on his target and attacks without hesitation. It's not too far of a reach to say those first couple games he had jitters and changed his style of game play.

The idea of launching at runners might throw a wrench into Rambo's plans. As he adjusts to the NFL, he's learning to stay more disciplined, especially in pass coverage. At Georgia, he would often go for the big play which often led to the offense taking advantage and coming up with a big play of their own.

One thing is for sure, and that's Rambo's work ethic. Coaches rave about his time spent learning the defense and watching film. If he makes a mistake once, he's smart enough to not let it happen again.  That's exactly what we all saw as the preseason worked its way to a conclusion.

As the defense becomes second nature to Rambo, the big plays will find a way to him. A total of 16 interceptions in college doesn't happen without raw talent and a knowledge of the game.

Give him time, but Rambo is the long term answer for the Washington Redskins at the position. Tanard Jackson may not be reinstated for at least another month if history repeats itself, and the Redskins aren't rumored to be shopping for other options at this point. It's Meriweather and Rambo (now wearing No. 24) in the defensive backfield to hold it down in 2013.

Besides, when you make a name change from Fudge to Rambo, you have no choice but to make an impact and stir up some fear in opposing offenses.