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  • Swearinger and Clinton-Dix bonded in the offseason while training in Miami. Now two of the NFL’s best safeties—who also share an admiration of Sean Taylor—join forces in Washington.
By Jonathan Jones
November 01, 2018

ASHBURN, Va. — D.J. Swearinger got a text from his friend Ha Ha Clinton-Dix just as the news was breaking. “I’m coming to you, bro,” the text read. Swearinger hadn’t been paying close attention to the NFL trade deadline at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, so he figured Clinton-Dix was continuing their weekly text battle over who will finish the season with more interceptions.

Then he got another text from a different friend. “Y’all got Ha Ha,” the text read.

“It’s over with,” Swearinger said Wednesday from his locker.

Washington may have emerged as the trade deadline’s biggest winner. Giving up a fourth-round pick, Washington now has arguably the best safety duo in the NFL (Swearinger leads the NFL in interceptions with four and Clinton-Dix has three) with the versatility for both players to play either safety position. Washington (5–2) ranks 13th in passing defense heading into the second half of the season.

“I feel like they are really getting this defense right,” Swearinger said. “They got some extra help in the backend, a veteran, Pro Bowl guy. It takes a little weight off my shoulders. It takes the weight off the corners’ shoulders. You can’t coach experience. You tell a guy as much as you want, but until he experiences it, you’re not going to get the result.”

Clinton-Dix—who bonded with Swearinger in the offseason while training in Miami, talking football and family and charity—is set to be a free agent after this season and saw the writing on the wall in Green Bay. Though he had never missed a game with the Packers, he didn’t anticipate an extension. Now he’s playing for Sean Taylor’s team, whom he grew up admiring.

“I watched guys like Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward leave Green Bay, who were phenomenal players who treated the game and approached the game as pros,” Clinton-Dix said. “To see their time come to an end at Green Bay, I could only imagine what my time would be like.”

One funny moment between Clinton-Dix and Swearinger that has been circulating since the trade came up again Wednesday: In a Week 3 game between Washington and Green Bay, Clinton-Dix picked off Alex Smith near the Washington sideline and dapped up Swearinger after the play.

In fact, the play before the interception, Swearinger was just talking up Clinton-Dix to a teammate. Then the pick happened…

“It was just natural,” Swearinger said.

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HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Albert Breer explains the logic behind all the trades from this week. … Andy Benoit goes deep on the art of great quarterbacking when it comes to Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. … Dig this from Jenny Vrentas on the rise of two unlikely quarterback stars. … Episode 3 of “Fall of a Titan” is now available. … and more.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: The winners and losers from Tuesday’s trade deadline. … Surprise! Here comes another down year for receivers in the draft. … A look at the list of next possible Browns coaches. … Get your power rankings here!


PRESS COVERAGE

1. Interim Browns head coach Gregg Williams said he had 11 offers to be a head coach elsewhere (including four where he could have avoided an interview and just signed on the dotted line) and no one believes him.

2. Ty Montgomery really wants to put his Packers days in the past as he moves on to Baltimore.

3. New Bills WR Terrelle Pryor says he was underused during his short stint with the New York Jets.

4. The Jaguars have signed former Steelers quarterback Landry Jones to backup Blake Bortles. The Bills inked QB Matt Barkley on Wednesday as Derek Anderson deals with a concussion. Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job.

5. Enjoyed this story from The Athletic on the Levi’s Stadium holding cell that’s sure to see some activity Thursday night during the 49ers-Raiders game.


THE KICKER

I thought it was really weird of Matt Patricia to chastise a reporter during the press conference about his posture. Even if there’s history there between the coach and reporter, Patricia could have easily settled that off the podium between the two of them.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

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