Teams coming off a 7-9 season, one preceded by six wins over the last three seasons, ready to breakout can't just start creating more holes in the roster. Not unless they have a clear idea about how to fill it. That's the big question now for the St. Louis Rams after releasing FS Oshiomogho Atogwe on Friday.
Atogwe is scheduled to visit with the Washington Redskins today. And why wouldn't he? As VT mentioned earlier, Washington defensive coordinator Jim Haslett held the same job with the Rams from 2006-2008, including a short stint as interim head coach. Atogwe peaked during those three years, collecting an astonishing 16 interceptions, including 8 INTs during the 2007 season. Haslett, for all the failures of that period in Rams history, understood how to use Atogwe, the only playmaker on the Rams defense during that stretch.
I'm sure Washington fans fondly recall Atogwe's fumble return TD in week 5 of the 2008 season. It gave the underdog Rams their first of two wins that season.
Buffalo is also interested in Atogwe, as I suspect a number of teams will be. Another possible destination is Minnesota. Why Minnesota? Family connections. In May, Atogwe becomes Mike Singletary's son-in-law. Singletary being the new linebackers coach in Minnesota following his rocky head coaching tenure in San Francisco.
Now wait a minute? The Atogwe-Singletary connection was mentioned last year when the Rams put virtual no-cost RFA tender on Atogwe, but nothing happened. For one, the 49ers had Dashon Goldson who was coming off a solid 2009 season. And, though it probably doesn't rise to being actual collusion, teams are hesitant to pluck RFA away from other teams for fear of opening a Pandora's Box.
Atogwe makes sense for Minnesota beyond the family connection because they run a Tampa 2 defense that could really use his ability to play the ball. The Chicago Bears are another team in the NFC North that could use Atogwe, a team that also runs a Tampa 2 and might be feeling the pressure to load up the roster to compete against a Green Bay team that looks to be in it for the long haul.