While cornerback Chris Culliver is still transitioning onto his new team, he's committed to strengthening the bonds he has with the defense.
Redskins cornerback Chris Culliver had one mission for the members of the defense through the team's offseason workout program: come together.
After strapping on his helmet and matching up with the Redskins' wide receivers, tight ends and running backs during 11-on-11 drills for the past month in OTAs and minicamp, Culliver knows how important it is to find harmony with coaches and teammates as he begins to master the playbook and defensive strategy.
"You know with a new coaching staff, and everybody's trying to get the scheme and everything together in order to be great," Culliver said. "A lot of new guys. We're trying to put all 11 on the same page and go out there and work together collectively, and hopefully good things will work for us."
Part of Culliver's optimism relies on some of those new coaches, who have implemented a system that has stressed picking up all loose balls, and, as defensive backs coach Perry Fewell has implemented, turning pass deflections into interceptions.
That should suit Culliver particularly well, who hauled in a career-high four interceptions along with 45 tackles last season with the 49ers.
"Coach Perry is a good coach," Culliver said. "He's been a D-Coordinator. His scheme is a good scheme for DB's to get a lot of hands on balls. Hopefully we come together as a group collectively and get this thing done."
The Redskins signed the coveted free agent cornerback March 13, giving the team a big, tough perimeter defender who's not afraid to get his nose dirty.
"Chris is a physical guy, man," head coach Jay Gruden said. "He's a physical corner. He's a great competitor, obviously. ...Just playing against him last year when he was in San Francisco knowing what type of competitor he is, it's great to have him out here."
Culliver's leadership, and his familiarity with some of his teammates that played with him in San Francisco, including Ricky Jean Francois and Dashon Goldson, extends past the defense.
Because of his experience and coveted skills, the Redskins know Culliver will also help the wide receivers improve their game off the line of scrimmage, giving them an established league corner to practice against throughout the week.
"He can challenge you at the line of scrimmage," Gruden said. "He can play off, and he's a great tackler. He wants everything to be perfect. He's going to make everybody better around him, not only the defensive backs but the receivers. Every time we run a route against him, it'll be a great challenge."
The Washington Redskins announced Friday, March 13, 2015, the signing of free agent cornerback Chris Culliver. Here's a gallery of photos from his career.
Ideally, Culliver's talent and desire to communicate with his teammates spreads to some of the younger defensive backs learning the rhythms of the NFL as they head into their first preseason playing against professional athletes.
That's something he and veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall, with whom Culliver occasionally grabs dinner, can bring to the locker room.
The sense of communion, like the one he had with the 49ers, is fundamental to building a successful season.
"We're all one group, and we bond together," Culliver said. "We all talk. We all communicate. We all collectively come together as a group. We're trying to put this whole thing together and be the best we can be."