As Washington Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland approaches the final year of his rookie contract, he's looking to hit on all of the details that make a player at his position great.
Through the first three games of his rookie season in 2014, Washington Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland was one of the team's backup cornerbacks, serving in the role behind DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson and Tracy Porter among others.
But midway through Washington's Week 3 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, Hall went down with a torn Achilles tendon. Porter, meanwhile, had yet to make one of his only three appearances in a Redskins uniform.
In stepped Breeland, a fourth-round pick out of Clemson. Over the next two seasons, Breeland would be Washington's most productive cornerback, leading the team in interceptions while locking down some of the league's best wide receivers like Dez Bryant.
It was expected Breeland would continue to serve in that role entering the 2016 season, but in a late free agency steal the Redskins were able to sign All-Pro Josh Norman. Norman was coming off the best season of his career, but stalled potential on a long-term agreement with the Carolina Panthers meant his franchise tag was rescinded.
While Breeland was bumped to the No. 2 cornerback role, he admitted on "Redskins Nation" this week that it took time to learn how to play opposite Norman.
"It kind of did to be honest," Breeland said. "Nothing against him personally, it was just the competitive nature I just felt like I was going to move in that role to be that guy. It crushed me not to be that guy and having to share it with someone else. Things like that happen, it's a business. I had to overcome it and get my mind right to get back on a straight arrow."
Check out behind the scenes images from Cornerback, Bashaud Breeland's 2016 Redskins Photo Shoot.
Breeland was able to record an interception in the regular season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but struggled to contain Antonio Brown. That continued into the first half of Washington's Week 2 game against the Dallas Cowboys before the coaching staff decided to have Norman start traveling with the opponent's biggest receiving threat.
Breeland still tied the team lead in interceptions (three), but he's looking to get back to his comfort level for a crucial upcoming season, the last of his rookie contract signed in 2014.
"I'm just trying to get back to the basics and what I am accustomed to doing, which is playing ball," Breeland said.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden is optimistic that the team's starting cornerback tandem can improve on their collective performance, but they must be in-sync on the field.
"I think [defensive backs coach] Torian Gray is going to help out in that regard," Gruden said earlier this month. "Obviously Manusky will help out. So, I think they need to play together wherever they're playing, whoever they're covering, it shouldn't matter. I think the whole goal of the defense, when you're playing defensive football for the Redskins, you're playing as one. Defensive line, defensive backs, linebackers have to all play together and that's what I'm looking for the most. Be on the same page, play together and play hard and physical. That's what it's all about."