The pace was dead. There was a whole lot more walking and much less barking by the Washington Redskins on a rare Tuesday practice.
And then the offense moved inside the red zone. Suddenly, cornerback Bashaud Breeland stepped inside receiver Brian Quick for an interception to electrify the defense. After weeks of being picked on by the team’s passing game, they were ready for revenge now that regular-season workouts mean less hitting and more strategy.
It was hit-and-miss. Tight end Jordan Reed snared a dart over Breeland that caused both players to high-five in mutual respect of a great play. But safety D.J. Swearinger batted a ball to the ground with the swagger of “Not today.”
If the Redskins are to be successful this season beginning Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, the red zone passing game must excel. And yet, the secondary is not giving participation trophies. Every time they thwart quarterback Kirk Cousins, it’s a win-win by teaching the passer what he can’t try while defenders gain live-fire experience.
The secondary quartet of Josh Norman, Deshazor Everett, Breeland and Swearinger looked ready. They talk a lot, but have spent the preseason getting closer. And when safety Su’a Cravens left Sunday after telling everyone he was retiring, the Redskins just looked to Everett as next man up as he was throughout the preseason while Cravens was hurt.
The intensity will grow Wednesday and Thursday as the Redskins ready for the Eagles. But, it mostly comes on passing plays when reputations are made. The red zones on both ends are where the Redskins will live or die this season.
Just don’t ask the secondary for any feel-good moments—unless it’s theirs.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.