For the second-straight season, safety Bacarri Rambo has a chance to be in the starting lineup for the Redskins’ regular season opener.
Rambo said he felt the jitters of making his professional debut on Monday Night Football last season, but this time around he’s feeling much more relaxed heading into Sunday’s game vs. the Houston Texans.
“I’m a whole lot more mature than last year,” he said. “I’m not as nervous or worried about anything as I was last year. I feel a whole lot more comfortable with the scheme. It’s really just confidence and getting out there and playing.”
Rambo said after learning the team’s defense last year, he was able to use this offseason to focus on the fundamentals of his position.
“My main focus this offseason was learning the playbook, learning the small things, reading the guys and making better tackles, learning the angle on the tackles,” he said. “That’s what I really been focusing on so I feel a whole lot more comfortable doing that.”
“I’m very prepared,” Rambo said. “Mentally, physically, I’m a whole different guy than I was last year. It’s night and day. It’s like I’m not worried or frustrated or stressed or thinking about [things]. It’s like I’m more confident in myself.”
He added: “I grew. I hit adversity and it made me a better player.”
Last season, Rambo logged 43 tackles and a sack after a highly productive college career in which he tied former Redskin Jake Scott for the most interceptions (16) in a career at Georgia.
Rambo was a first-team All American and first-team All-SEC player in 2011 at the University of Georgia (see his full UGA stats and honors)
Bacarri Rambo UGA highlights
Whether he’s going to be asked to play deep in coverage or be up on the line disturbing the offense’s plans from the snap, Rambo just wants to carry out the mission asked of him.
“I’m just going to get out there and do whatever it takes to win,” he said. “If it’s coming to me making a turnover or doing whatever, I’m just here to win [and be] that playmaker that I was in college.”
One facet of the NFL game that took some that took some adjusting for Rambo was how NFL coaches are always looking to exploit their opponent’s weaknesses.
“Everybody game plans against you and everybody scheme against you,” he said. “You have to be on your toes, be on your A-game every game. If it comes to me making a turnover, then I’ll do it.”
Rambo got some action in at strong safety last season when veteran Brandon Meriweather missed time. He believes his familiarity with the position will help Sunday against an offense that features seven-time Pro Bow receiver Andre Johnson.
“I have to read my keys a whole lot better, study film, and do all those things,” Rambo said of playing the strong safety position. “I think it’s an easy adjustment.”
He can also enter the game more relaxed knowing that longtime veteran Ryan Clark will be back at the other safety position working with him, sometimes exclusively.
“We’re going to do some things that he’s comfortable with because I know, especially being a young player, you want to be comfortable,” Clark said of Rambo. “That’s when you play fast, that’s when you play most physical, or more physical.”
With the game only a few days away now, Rambo believes that he’s in a good spot to make an impact.
“I’m very prepared mentally and physically,” he said. “It’s a whole different guy than it was last year. It’s night and day. “I’m not as worried, frustrated or stressed, thinking a lot.
“I’m more confident in myself this year.”
More about Bacarri :
- Rambo’s learning curve at strong safety (ESPN)
- Bacarri Rambo confident, still learning (ESPN)
- Ryan Clark happy Bacarri Rambo is ‘playing such good ball’ (Washington Times)
- Proving A Point: Redskins’ Bacarri Rambo vows to make impact in second year (Washington Times)