Ron Rivera implies Landon Collins could play linebacker in 2021

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Bryan Manning
·2 min read
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The Washington Football Team needs help at linebacker. In fact, linebacker and offensive tackle are arguably the biggest areas of need on the 2021 Washington roster.

Could the team already have an answer at linebacker on the roster in the form of veteran safety Landon Collins?

Well, according to Collins, that’s not going to happen. A fan asked Collins on Instagram last month about a move to linebacker. Collins was definitive in his response.

“Not happening, my guy,” Collins responded to the fan. Collins even used a laughing emoji after his response as if the thought was comical to him.

After all, just two years before, Washington made Collins the NFL’s highest-paid safety. While others have since eclipsed that contract, it’s clear Collins still believes he’s one of the best safeties in the NFL.

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On Friday, Washington coach Ron Rivera met with the media and was asked about Collins at linebacker and was Collins’ response last month representative of the team or the player.

Rivera made it clear that was Collins’ viewpoint.

“That was Landon,” Rivera said.

The head coach didn’t tip his hand of a position change but didn’t rule it out either.

“Our plan for Landon is to have him here, have him compete and have him be a part of what we’re doing going forward,” Rivera said.

Collins, who struggled at times during his first year with Washington in 2019, was getting better in 2020 before an Achilles’ injury ended his season in Week 7.

Kamren Curl, a rookie seventh-round pick from Arkansas in 2020, filled in for Collins last season and didn’t miss a beat. Curl has a big future in the league and it’s clear Washington’s coaches believe the same.

Now, the coaches must find a way to get Collins back on the field without benching Curl. Curl is here to stay. And, both players are more comfortable at strong safety.

So, could the 220-pound Collins play some linebacker for WFT?

Collins could thrive in a hybrid safety/linebacker role. He is an outstanding tackler with great instincts who struggles in coverage on the back end. A move to linebacker could bring out more of Collins’ strengths while also keeping Curl on the field, too.

Now, the team must convince Collins to feel the same way.