AKEEM DAVIS, SPECIAL TEAMS CONTRIBUTOR, WAIVED TO MAKE ROOM
Over the weekend, the Washington Redskins picked up safety Duke Ihenacho off waivers from the Denver Broncos. Ihenacho will immediately provide support for the suspended Brandon Meriweather, but will also strengthen the defensive backfield for the long run.
Head coach Jay Gruden addressed the move during his routine Monday press conference at Redskins Park.
“I think he brings some experience to the table,” Gruden said of the three-year veteran. “He started a lot of games last year for Denver. He’s a tough guy and became available. We didn’t know who was going to come available. We saw that he was there, we put a claim into him because of the experience level and special teams experience. We thought he could be an immediate help for us and luckily we got him.”
Ihenacho started 17 games for the Broncos last season, but apparently became expendable after Denver signed T.J. Ward and had Quinton Carter return from injury.
Asked if Ihenacho would start immediately, Gruden was coy but optimistic.
“It depends on how quickly he picks it up mentally. I envision him participating in some level, some capacity, we’ll see what that is. It’s too early to tell. This is the first time we met him, today. So, we have got to get him acclimated to the defense, the calls, see how much he can pick up, see how much he can help Ben [Kotwica] and special teams and go from there. Whether he is activated or not, we’ll see.”
Ihenacho, for his part, embraces the special teams aspect. As he told ESPN.com, “I think kickoff is the easiest thing in the world. If you’ve got that mentality then they put you on kickoff because you like doing it.”
What does Ihenacho expect to bring the Redskins defense?
“I just bring some physicality, man, and playmaking ability,” Ihenacho said. “A little more excitement, a little more passion to the game.”
Gruden praised the organization for making a move like this so close to the start of the regular season.
“Thank your scouts and your [Director of Pro Personnel] Alex Santos and those guys,” Gruden said. “They’re watching very closely all positions, not just safety but all positions. We’re looking at who’s available and if somebody can help our football team right now we’re going to make a run at them. Obviously, you have to make room on your roster and those decisions become tougher and tougher once you make your 53, like it was with Akeem [Davis]. But, you’re always looking to upgrade your team and if somebody can help you then you have to make that move and we thought that Duke could help us.”