Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

November 01, 2018 at 1:38 am.

Newly arrived Clinton-Dix says he will be ready to play

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix intercepted a pass at FedEx Field for the Green Bay Packers in a Week 3 game against the Washington Redskins and immediately ran over to safety D.J. Swearinger on the sideline and bumped fists.

It was a sign of respect between two players on opposing teams who worked out together in the offseason in Miami, played against each other in college in the SEC and are now teammates after Washington acquired Clinton-Dix from the Green Bay Packers in a trade this week.

“Two men who love this game, who play for their families, who play for their friends, who play for their coaches, who play for their teammates and it was all balls-to-the-walls this offseason and we had fun doing it,” Clinton-Dix said. “When you’re competing with a guy that loves the game as much as you do, you can never get bored in this league.”

Clinton-Dix insists he will play as soon as this weekend when the Redskins (5-2), who lead the NFC East by a game-and-a-half over the Philadelphia Eagles (4-4), host the Atlanta Falcons. He will play next to Swearinger, who is drawing rave reviews for his play in 2018. He has a sack, two forced fumbles, seven passes defended and four interceptions through seven games.

Swearinger has mainly done it so from the free safety position. He’s been a force against the run, too, with 26 solo tackles. Clinton-Dix’s acquisition should allow Swearinger to play more at strong safety, currently held by second-year pro Montae Nicholson. But Nicholson is fighting a hip injury and had a “small procedure” on it this week. It is unclear when he will return.

Clinton-Dix doesn’t quite have that tackling ability, but he isn’t bad at it and can cover in the slot or deep down the field. A slow start and pending free agency made him expendable in Green Bay, but he is a good fit for the Redskins, whose secondary lacks much experience beyond Josh Norman at cornerback and Swearinger.

Clinton-Dix joins a defense that features a host of other Alabama players, including defensive linemen Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and linebacker Ryan Anderson.

“It was an opportunity to get a great player,” Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. “Ha Ha has proven the fact that he’s a good player, great player actually, over the course of his career and came available to us. The front office pulled the trigger and got him in here. Now it’s our job to get him acclimated to the defense and add him to the mix of a good safety group.”

SERIES HISTORY: 25th regular-season meeting. Redskins lead series, 14-9-1, but have lost five in a row and six of the last seven to Atlanta. The last meeting was Oct. 11, 2015, a 25-19 Falcons win on a 59-yard interception return in overtime. Washington won the lone playoff meeting in 1991 on its way to the Super Bowl.