Despite Limited Role Against Patriots, Oshiomogho Atogwe Insists He’s Healthy
ASHBURN – A day after Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe “hasn’t been able to get back to full speed” since sustaining hamstring, toe and knee injuries earlier in the season, Atogwe himself said he is fully healthy.
“I mean, I feel like I’m able to play,” Atogwe said Monday. “I’m going to go out there and contribute and help the team. It’s coach’s decision who plays and who doesn’t play, and I support that decision.”
Atogwe did not start in the Redskins’ 34-27 loss to New England on Sunday and saw the field strictly as a reserve. Rookie DeJon Gomes filled in for Atogwe at free safety, while Reed Doughty made the start at strong safety for LaRon Landry, who missed his second consecutive game with a groin injury.
“To be honest with you – health,” Shanahan said after the game when asked why Atogwe played only a limited role. “O.J. keeps on trying to go out there and play at a very high level. He’s playing injured. He’s not playing at full speed.”
Atogwe strained a hamstring early in training camp and missed three of four games during the middle of the season because of knee and toe injuries, with the lone exception being the Oct. 30 game against Buffalo played in Toronto, near where he grew up.
Gomes had five tackles and deflected a pass against the Patriots, while Doughty had three tackles.
Atogwe said he doesn’t like to spend time thinking about what could have happened for the Redskins if he had been healthy for the first year of a five-year, $26 million contract he signed in March.
“I don’t ever wonder what if, because that’s not what’s happened, and I don’t like to waste a lot of time on fantasies,” Atogwe said. “I believe the defense has been playing exceptionally well. The offense, too. The team’s been playing well. We just haven’t been able to pull out the games at the end. The guys who have been in there on defense have done a good job, so I don’t ever want to take anything away from their hard work.”
He and Landry were supposed to form the backbone of a revamped Redskins secondary. Instead, they never played together during the preseason, with Landry out the entire period because of Achilles’ tendon and hamstring injuries, and they’ve played together in only five of Washington’s 13 games.
“The season at large is not what we would have liked it to be – both myself and LaRon and as the team,” Atogwe said. “Me and LaRon have been able to play this year and we had a lot of fun. We desire to continue to do that. If that will happen or not, we’ll have to wait and see, but I know we both would like to have better years and not been injured. But that’s part of the game.”