WASHINGTON — Heading into Week 1, the Redskins have one of their biggest questions at one safety position and one of the most confident answers at another.
Since his arrival via offseason signing, DJ Swearinger has made a profound impact in Washington, seizing a starting safety role and stepping into a leadership position on defense.
He was tapped as one of four team captains on Tuesday and the only such player on defense. Swearinger walks the walk but also talks the talk, which clicks with the squad that the Redskins have assembled.
“You know, it helps everybody out,” fellow safety Deshazor Everett said of his outspoken nature. “It makes me want to talk more.
“I see that D.J. talking helps out everybody else, so let me talk while I’m out there. So I can help everyone help everybody else.”
Throughout training camp, different teammates described the same thing in varying terms.
“You can’t shut him up,” said cornerback Bashaud Breeland. “He brings the energy.”
“I don’t think D.J. has an off button,” linebacker Mason Foster said. “I love it.”
“He brings this energy and passion that I haven’t seen since college,” running back Chris Thompson said.
At least to this point, teammates seem to understand that it comes from a very real place for Swearinger.
“It’s just me loving the game and giving out energy and passion,” he explained. “It is my job because every player, they don’t feel comfortable talking. It’s not who they are. On a football field, it’s just who I am.”
It’s worth noting that Swearinger beat out such veterans as Ryan Kerrigan, Josh Norman and Will Compton, who handles the plays in the huddle. That’s a strong first impression.
He is joined by offensive captains Kirk Cousins and Trent Williams, as well as special teams captain Niles Paul. Williams also praised Swearinger for his approach to the game and the team so far.
“He’s backing up what he’s talking, so it ain’t like you can call him out on a lot,” he said. “It’s quiet out there, no music, sometimes you just get tired of hearing it and you just give him a little chatter back, but I mean for the most part, it’s nice, it’s clean, it’s healthy competitiveness and it’s what we need.”