The Washington Redskins bolstered its defensive secondary by signing free agent free safety Oshiomogho (O.J.) Atogwe Thursday evening. The signing comes just as the window to sign players is about to close with the demise of the collective bargaining agreement.
Atogwe, a six year veteran, is reunited with Jim Haslett, his defensive coordinator with the St. Louis Rams. Haslett is in the same role with the Redskins. Atogwe visited the Redskins February 22 and left without a deal.
Most Redskin fans will remember Atogwe for his 75 yard fumble return for a score to help the Rams beat the Redskins at FedEx Field in 2008. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Rams. It was on of only two losses in Jim Zorn's first eight games as Redskins head coach.
Atogwe is credited with 393 total tackles, 22 interceptions and 42 passes defended. ESPN's Mike Sando describes the contract machinations that led to Atogwe's release. Atogwe reported signed a five-year, $26 million deal.
Point after: Sean Taylor's jersey No. 21 is sacred to Redskins' fans. Atogwe wore the same number with the Rams. Washington hasn't officially retired the number, but Atogwe says he will wear a different number while with the Redskins. Hat/tip to Cindy Boren at WaPOST for pointing me there.
It's been incredibly difficult not to remind readers that the Redskins signed safety Adam Archuleta from St. Louis. Coincidence doesn't prove co-relationship. There's no reason to believe that Atogwe will be the bust that Archuleta was just because they both played for the same team--unless the 'Skins change their whole approach to the secondary as they did with Archuleta's arrival then expect the player to do things he's not good at.
The better comparison is London Fletcher who was well known to then assistant head coach Gregg Williams through their prior association with the Buffalo Bills. Williams knew exactly how he wanted to use Fletcher. Fletcher has been golden ever since. Hope that Jim Haslett has as clear a concept for Atogwe and that OJ contributes as well as Fletcher.