Redskins LB Su'a Cravens recalls lesson from film study, picks off pass

RICHMOND, Virginia -- The athleticism was evident on an interception and Washington Redskins rookie Su’a Cravens played it down. He said he did nothing special, but he also learned a lesson: doing your job right can lead to good things.

On the play, Cravens made a leaping interception of a check down by quarterback Colt McCoy.

“I got lucky,” Cravens said, “and Colt tried to flip it over me and I picked it. It’s a confidence booster. But I keep it in perspective.”

He has to: It’s not even August and the full pads don’t come on until Saturday. But Cravens showed that he could take a lesson in the film room and carry it to the field. During a film session before practice Friday, the coaches went over this particular scenario and how to attack the running back if he blocks away from his side. That’s what happened: the back went opposite Cravens, but because he read the play and took the proper path, it led to an interception.

“The back came out late and Colt didn’t see me,” Cravens said.

Earlier in the practice, Cravens learned what he must do while covering running backs. In a one-on-one drill, rookie Keith Marshall drove him off to the inside and cut wide for an easy reception. He created several yards of separation.

“I just have to jam him when he starts breaking me down,” Cravens said. “When he starts coming out and making his move, I have to get my hands on him. Ultimately it’s a three-yard gain. We want to take away as much as we can. The out route from the backfield with the back is one of the hardest routes you guard in one-on-one situations. You want to take away the inside and hopefully with your athleticism and you get your hands on him, it slows him down for the out routes.”

Other observations:

  • I’d like to see better timing or success on deep balls from quarterback Kirk Cousins to receiver DeSean Jackson. He underthrew Jackson enough on a long pass down the left side, enabling corner Bashaud Breeland to make up ground. Breeland played it patient with Jackson, but it left him unable to stop him as he sped past. However, Breeland remains the player who has been called out the most for positive plays in the first two days. He had the best jam of camp against receiver Dez Stewart, driving him back and preventing him from going on his route. OK, Stewart is a longshot to make the roster so this should happen. But Breeland has drawn praise for a number of plays.

  • On one play in 11-on-11, he and corner Josh Norman executed their assignments perfectly, with Breeland going in motion with Garcon making it look like man coverage. It wasn’t. Breeland stayed inside and Norman went with the deep receiver, Garcon. Safety DeAngelo Hall rotated over and no pass was thrown.

  • Another member of the secondary, corner Jeremy Harris made an interception on a similar play because McCoy did throw the ball. But Harris had good position and made a leaping catch in front of receiver Rashad Ross, prompting defensive coordinator Joe Barry to run about 30 yards downfield to congratulate him.

  • Tight end Jordan Reed is a receiver who happens to play tight end. He simply makes plays other tight ends would struggle to make. For example, McCoy rolled to his right on one play with Reed drifting the same way. McCoy threw back to the middle and Reed, while still moving to his left, reached back to the right and tipped the ball then caught it, then turning to run. The hand-eye coordination with Reed is special.