Tarik El-Bashir wraps up OTAs on Redskins Nation
With the Washington Redskins running goal line practice drills, the defense needed a stop.
As Santana Moss broke a route towards the back corner of the end zone – a play Moss scored on a few minutes earlier – a well placed pass came towards the receiver for what looked like another touchdown.
As Moss looked the ball into his arms, second year cornerback Richard Crawford jumped up and swatted the ball away.
Crawford’s play sent defensive backs coach Raheem Morris into a tizzy, yelling “that’s how you make a play” and leading to a good, healthy exchange of trash talk between Crawford and Moss with Morris barking in the background.
It was just one play, and it occurred on a May afternoon during Offseason Team Activities, but throughout the day Crawford was making plays. A tipped pass here, an interception on a deep ball, and an impressive punt return too.
The buzz around Crawford was that he was in the middle of a great run of OTAs.
“I feel pretty good, still made some mistakes but that’s what OTA practices are for,” the 5’11”, 188 lb. corner said.
“OTAs aren’t anything, its all about what you do on Sundays and how many games you win, getting that big Lombardi trophy.”
Crawford said that he is much more comfortable as a second year player. In his rookie season, at times his nerves would show.
“The first game I played you’re looking across at guys like A.J. Green, so you’re not fully confident in yourself,” Crawford said. “But now, I’m fully confident in myself to do whatever the coaches want me to do and contribute to the team.”
Crawford should have the opportunity to contribute plenty. He wil likely be the Redskins punt returner, and he could get a lot of snaps with the defensive unit.
Projections for the starting defense would have DeAngelo Hall at corner, and likely Josh Wilson on the other side. But a strong showing from Crawford could change that.
"There's no given position," he said. "I have to earn that spot."
The game is slowing down for Crawford. In college at Southern Methodist University, Crawford explained he could anticipate what the offense would do. Now, with a year of experience, he is starting to get the same feeling.
“The first year you come into the league you’re kind of feeling it out,” Crawford said.
“I feel a lot more comfortable in my second year.”
Crawford expects to cut down his mental mistakes this season, which should allow for an increase in playmaking.
“Just being around, you know all offenses are the same, all 32 teams have similar concepts,” he said. “There’s only so much you can do, that’s where I’ve improved.”
As for the trash talk with Santana Moss, Crawford said it was all in fun.
Crawford speaks highly of the veteran receiver out of Miami, going so far to call Moss a mentor. Moss shows Crawford little tricks he’s learned in 13 NFL seasons, and though it’s early, it looks like the younger player is paying attention.
A seventh-round draft pick in 2012, Crawford does not play the diva role popular among many defensive backs. He lets his play on the field do most of the talking.
Of his early success at OTAs, Crawford said simply, “Hard work paying off.”