The Cornerback Battle May Be The Most Intense Position Battle of Washington's Training Camp
The Washington football franchise has a lot on its plate currently. With all the off the field issues, the actual product that the organization is trying to put on the field seems to be lost in the shuffle. There are many question marks in regards to what the roles of many of these new and returning players will be since the hiring of head coach Ron Rivera. I have highlighted a number of these competitions in previous articles, but the cornerback position may be the most intense of them all.
During this off season, the defensive secondary has seen some considerable turnover via free agency addition and subtraction. The franchise brought back their former draft pick and newly crowned Super Bowl champion Kendall Fuller. They also acquired former Philadelphia Eagle and Super Bowl champion veteran Ronald Darby in free agency to add some much needed depth to the roster. Both players bring experience and a winning pedigree to the secondary. In addition, the team will be bringing Fabian Moreau who is expected to start, Danny Johnson, Jimmy Moreland, Greg Stroman, Aaron Colvin and Simeon Thomas all into camp to compete for roster spots and playing time.
With the defensive schematic change to the 4'3, and the team looking to increase the amount of pressure they put on quarterbacks, you will almost certainly see more one on one coverage on the outside in passing situations. You will most likely see much more aggressive techniques used by the corners to include some press coverage and bumping, and being physical at the line of scrimmage, which you rarely saw from the cornerbacks in the previous defensive coordinator's schematics. This will allow the cornerbacks to knock the receivers off their routes and disrupt the timing of opposing offenses in their passing game. In turn, this will afford the pass rush some extra time to get to the quarterback, and possibly force him to make a quicker decision than he wants causing a negative play. With the addition of Chase Young, the emergence of Montez Sweat, and the evolution of the entire defensive line and linebacker core, the squad hopes the defensive backfield, specifically the cornerbacks, will be able to elevate their effectiveness in 2020.
It is undetermined who the starters will be at the corners, but you can guarantee that the competition will be on a more than level playing field. There will be absolutely no favorites in Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio's eyes. Sometimes, that breeds the best competition, and brings the best out of players. Knowing you have a legitimate shot to not only make the roster, but demand some playing time, gives you more than enough incentive to be mentally and physically at your best come training camp. Fabian Moreau and Jimmy Moreland will have much to prove as returning players that are still trying to find their niche in the league. It's going to be a battle and Rivera knows the types of competitors he has at that cornerback position. He wouldn't have it any other way. None of these guys have established themselves as "every down" players. None of these guys has proven that they should walk into camp and be given a status without taking a snap. They are going to have to earn it. The cornerback camp battle quiet as kept may be the most competitive and the most intense of them all. Look for a lot of trash talking, and a lot of scuffles as none of these kids are going to back down and let their spot be taken quietly. That's the beauty of training camp; establishing those bonds through competition and getting better every repetition of every practice. Keep an eye on the cornerbacks when training camp commences. There will definitely be some surprises. As you were...
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