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Tryon Steps Up As Third Cornerback

Greg Blache called the play and Justin Tryon was ready.

Cornerback blitz.

Tryon approached the line of scrimmage--it was 3rd-and-11--and he eyed Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Johnson.

"I was stoked," Tryon said. "I was thinking, 'Coach [Greg Blache] believed in me to make this play.' He believed in me to call the play. So I felt like I had to come through."

Tryon blitzed into the backfield and chased Johnson as he scrambled left. Tryon, all of 5-9 and 183 pounds, dragged down the 6-3, 205-pound Johnson for his first NFL sack.

It was a play that drew attention because it ended a Buccaneers drive.

It also drew attention because Tryon was in the game as the Redskins' nickel cornerback, replacing Fred Smoot.

"Justin had a tremendous game," head coach Jim Zorn said afterwards. "He played very tight coverage. He did what we asked him to do as far as coming in at that nickel position and playing man coverage. He was very heads up in some of his tackles."

For Tryon, it was a chance to show coaches he was ready for a bigger role.

A fourth-round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Tryon saw limited action on defense as a rookie last year.

Like most cornerbacks, Tryon maintains a degree of confidence. Looking back now, he knows that he wasn't ready for playing time as a rookie.

"Last year? I would compare myself to a chicken with its head cut off," Tryon said. "I was all over the place. I wanted to make every play. This is the NFL--you can't make every single play. You have to focus in on, 'I want to stop this. I want to take this away.'

"This year, I really calmed down and I really try to see what the offense is trying to do to me."

To take a step forward, Tryon said he focused on the details.

"Down and distance, third downs, recognizing what the offense is going to do," Tryon said. "Each and every day I go to practice and have fun."

In the first four games of this season, Tryon posted eight tackles and one pass defended to go along with his sack.

As the nickel cornerback, Tryon has had to line up in the slot.

That has its own set of challenges.

Wide receivers in the slot have more room to work with and can break left or right on a pass route.

In some ways, it's tougher than lining up on the outside.

"A good slot [defensive back] really helps us," Zorn said. "It helped us [against Tampa Bay] because DeAngelo Hall was very good outside. He was just so comfortable out there. He had a great interception. Even Carlos [Rogers] had a chance for an interception on the other side, in the same type of situation.

"It helps us in a dramatic way. It just gives you confidence to be able to call some man coverage in certain situations and track guys across the field.

"Justin was great even when he came across the line of scrimmage to blitz. All those areas can open up some more coverage situations and we can be a little bit more deceptive, if you will, with our packages."

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