His hands help him at the beginning of the route. It's what Bashaud Breeland likes to do: jam receivers at the line. They get him in trouble at the end of routes. It's what coaches have already told him not to do: grab receivers down the field.
As the Washington Redskins' fourth-round pick continues through the spring, the latter will be a focus.
“I get caught with my hands down the field sometimes,” he said. “In this league you can't do that so I have to work on that. I'll learn. The first day of one-on-ones [during rookie minicamp], I tugged a little bit and they were like, ‘You can't do that. That's pass interference in this league. You've got to get out of Clemson.' I have to work on it now.”
Breeland had issues with this during the rookie minicamp as well as the OTA practice open to the media last week. He certainly wouldn't be the first physical corner to have issues with this, nor would it always be called. But he has to do it less, without a doubt.
But the issue stems, in part, from his mindset. He's more aggressive not just in how he plays, but in where he aligns himself. In college he liked to play off-man sometimes 6 yards from the line, about a yard closer than average. (David Amerson often played 9 yards off in college, giving him extra time to see the quarterbacks.)
“I like to be close so I can control them more,” Breeland said. “I can make them get into their route. They have to dictate their route earlier than later.”
But that mindset also lets receivers beat the former Clemson corner on double moves. He'll have to use his eyes better and, after the receiver makes his first cut, not turn his attention to the backfield. He admitted that was a weakness in college.
However, Breeland does a good job jamming receivers, showing good patience and technique.
“That's one of my best assets, being physical at the line,” he said. “If they don't' get off the line, the quarterback can't throw the ball and that gives my D-line a chance to get the sack. I put a bunch of emphasis on pressing at the line.”
He's patient while pressing, with the ability to mirror receivers. It's a skill that has to be mastered.
“It was something I had to work on through my career in college,” he said. “It wasn't always that good. My position coach in college [Mike Reed] taught me how to be patient and taught me to watch the waist instead of the knees or the face. He really helped me out.”
The Redskins don't need Breeland to be anything other than a fourth corner at most this season, giving him a chance to learn. But they do expect him to help on special teams. He did that in college as well.
“I'm just a guy that loves to be on the field,” he said. “Any way to help the team, that's what I'll do.”