The Ascension of Darrick Forrest | Washington Commanders
Updated: Nov 21, 2022
By Adam Aniba
The emergence of second year safety Darrick Forrest has been sight to behold. Prior to Week 1 win vs Jacksonville, The Burgundy and Gold Report took a look back at the former Bearcats safety, during his final season at the University of Cincinnati (CLICK for '20 Season Scouting Report).
On the season, the former Bearcat defensive back has recorded 2 ints, 5 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 52 total tackles (35 solo), 1 tackle for loss and 1 QB hit through 10 games. In four of those games, Forrest started in place for injured strong safety Kamren Curl. Forrest currently leads the team in interceptions and seems to always be around the ball.
Washington forced 4 turnovers during their MNF matchup in Philadelphia. Prior to the game, the undefeated Eagles only turned the ball over 3 times all season. The defensive player of the claim was clearly Forrest, who recorded an interception and fumble recovery.
It's all in details for Forrest, who continues to display his value in coverage, playing in all 50 snaps during the critical MNF victory. His fumble recovery and interception shifted the game's momentum.
On the interception, Forrest was tasked as the high/low safety with Curl playing 5-yards off the line, shadowing the tight end. It was a classic case of film study, as Forrest seemed to know Jalen Hurts would utilize AJ Brown on a go-route with DeVonte Smith being a threat on the underneath breaking route.
Forrest baited Hurts into thinking he would support the underneath route, as the Eagles quarterback believed he had one-on-one coverage with Brown on the deep route. As soon as Hurts let go of the ball, Forrest flipped his hips and was at the catch point in an instant, before Brown had a chance. Initially the ball went through Forrest's hands and into Brown's, causing the Eagles receiver to juggle it, leading to Forrest fighting for the interception.
The second year defensive back credited his defensive coordinator for recognizing the look, emphasizing Jack Del Rio's advice during the Eagles post game presser.
"Coach told me to watch out for the 50/50 ball."
Although Forrest has been utilized in a multitude of ways, the latest announcement of free safety Bobby McCain staying at slot corner permanently, means Forrest has locked up a starting job. The impact Forrest has had on the defense this season, particularly after the return of Curl, has dramatically changed the identity of the entire defense.
The communication between the defensive backfield has notceably improved and Forrest has been a big part of that, displaying his football IQ and attention to detail. The ability to have interchangeable safeties is something Washington has attempted to do for years.
Washington finally has a safety duo in Curl and Forrest, that can intimidate opposing offenses, while lining up in different spots based on situation. Not since Sean Taylor and LaRon Landry have hopes been so high for the defensive backfield.
"I'm ready to be a factor in this league."
Although the win in Philadelphia was pivotal for Washington's potential playoff hopes, finally finding a legit combination at safety changes the ceiling for Del Rio's defense and expectations for the season.
Although the Commanders have 4 former 1st round selections on their highly coveted defensive line, Curl and Forrest are the day 3 draft picks that could propel the Commanders into the top defensive unit in the league.
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