When the Redskins signed defensive back Pierson Prioleau to a free agent contract in March, Prioleau knew he would need to carve out a role in a secondary that included veteran safeties Sean Taylor, Ryan Clark and Matt Bowen.
The seven-year veteran out of Virginia Tech knew that in the NFL, opportunities arise every week. Taylor, Clark and Bowen all missed games due to injury last season. Prioleau had to step in and he ended up starting six games.
He called himself "Mr. Utility" and that's exactly how he was used last season. Sort of a do-everything defensive back.
"Pierson's been a guy who has stepped into so many roles for us," Taylor said during the Redskins' playoff run. "Whether it's been nickel, dime or safety, he's given us a lot of versatility on the field. Pierson does a lot of the things on the field and comes prepared to the games every weekend."
Added head coach Joe Gibbs: "Pierson is one of those guys that hopefully people will find out about because he is really professional. He has great preparation and he is always in here studying film. He always knows the game plan inside and out."
In the Redskins' 17-13, Week 14 at Arizona, Prioleau may have enjoyed his finest game as a Redskin. The 5-11, 185-pound safety recorded seven tackles, a sack a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
In the 35-7 win over the Cowboys on Week 15, Prioleau posted four tackles and was a big part of what many say was the defense's finest performance of the year.
Prioleau said the win over Dallas was truly special for his family back in South Carolina. His father, Peter, is a lifelong Redskins fan.
"My gift to him was helping this team beat the Cowboys," Prioleau said.
Prioleau turned in back-to-back solid performances in Week 17 at Philadelphia, logging six tackles and one sack, and in the Wild Card win over Tampa Bay, logging five tackles and one pass defended.
In the days after the Redskins' season-ending loss to Seattle, Prioleau was asked if he felt the team had any needs it should address this offseason.
Replied Prioleau: "We got what we needed, and that's experience. Having played in big games, that will help us next year when we play big games in the regular season.
"This is what I envisioned when I signed here. Right now, we're really coming together and we realize that there's something special out there for us."