Landon Collins denies that his tackling has been a problem


The second year of safety Landon Collins' tenure with the Washington Football Team has been a disappointing one.

Collins has been criticized for his play this season for multiple reasons. But mainly, it's because Collins has been on the wrong end of coverage breakdowns and had some tackling issues as well.

But for the latter criticism, Collins doesn't agree with it. In a Zoom session with local media on Thursday, the 26-year-old denied that tackling has been a problem for him this season.

"Has my tackling been a problem? I think no," Collins said. "I've been told I've missed nine tackles in the last six games. So nine missed tackles in the last six games? Yeah, I think I got like 40 tackles so no, I don't think it's pretty bad."

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Tackling is supposed to be one of Collins' biggest strengths, as he makes his biggest impact on the field when he uses his physicality.

Yet, twice this season -- and perhaps more -- Collins has missed tackles that have led to long quarterback runs.

The first came against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4, as Collins was stiff-armed to the ground by quarterback Lamar Jackson en route to a 50-yard touchdown.

In this situation, Collins wasn't the first defender in place to bring down the quarterback, yet he was the lone player in a burgundy jersey who got his hands on Jackson and had the chance to minimize the gain.

Last week against New York, Collins had a clear path to bring down Giants passer Daniel Jones in the backfield. But Collins took a bad angle on the play -- one that allowed Jones to rush past him without the safety laying a finger on the quarterback. The play turned into a 49-yard gain, the longest of Jones' career.

So, while that play might not go down as a missed tackle for Collins, it sure was one where he failed to capitalize.

When Collins was struggling as a rookie with the New York Giants, his then-defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo called him into his office and told him that he needed to pick up his play.

"I can go back to when I was playing with the Giants. My first year, Spagnuolo told me that if I don't step my play up, he's going to have to find another safety," Collins said. "I remember that conversation very vividly. He called me in around 8 o'clock that morning and that's what the conversation was and my game picked up after that."

Collins isn't at risk of losing his job with Washington, but maybe defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio needs to have a conversation with the safety of what's expected from him. Because right now, Washington's defense needs a lot more out of their highly-paid defensive captain.

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