After joining the team late last year, linebacker Zach Vigil continues to adjust to the Redskins defense and looks to secure a roster spot this season.
Though Zach Vigil enters his third NFL season, this summer marks his first training camp with the Washington Redskins. The inside linebacker joined the team in December 2016 after being claimed off of waivers from the Miami Dolphins.
The Washington Redskins conducted their sixth day of training camp practice Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
During his eight months in Washington, Vigil has been working on learning the Redskins defense and refining his skills to better fit in with the team's scheme.
"It feels good," Vigil said of the beginning of training camp. "There's a lot to learn still for me and a lot to improve as far as the defense goes, and we're just out here working every day to get better at it."
The 6-foot-2, 238-pounder was added to the Redskins' roster to fill Houston Bates' role after he was sidelined with a torn ACL. Now that Bates has been released, Vigil has an even greater opportunity to impress coaches and compete for a spot this season.
Though the linebacker faces 2017 Pro Bowler Zach Brown, 2016 defensive captain Will Compton and seven-year veteran Mason Foster in his position group among others for playing time, Vigil explains that going up against talented players challenges him to improve. Despite the competition, the unit supports each other.
"That's why we all do this, right? To compete everyday," Vigil said. "Those guys are great guys. Everybody is rooting for each other, we don't want to see anybody mess up or anything like that. Everybody wants to play at a high level and whoever happens to make the team will make the team. That'll be through doing it everyday, day in and day out, being consistent, being productive."
With this strategy, Vigil aims to stand out at training camp practices this month. The Utah Sate product entered the NFL in 2015 as a college free agent with the Dolphins, appearing in 23 games with two starts and 20 tackles. Vigil hoped to produce more in Miami, but plans to take what he has learned from his two, 2016 regular season games with the Redskins and apply it to preparations for the upcoming season.
"Like anything else, [changing teams] has its ups and downs," Vigil said. "It was kind of upsetting to be let go like that, but it was also being picked up by the Redskins. I'm happy to be here, and we had a shot to win some games and had a chance to go to the playoffs last year so that was awesome. Obviously we didn't finish and make it happen, but we can change that this year."
Beyond his personal performance, Vigil views the guidance of inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti as a key to the defense's anticipated success.
"Coach KO is a very smart guy," he said. "When he watches film he sees a lot of things that you may not pick up on right off the bat. He does a great job of relaying that information to us, so KO is a very good coach and we're lucky to have him."
With preseason games quickly approaching, the linebacker not only perceives an opportunity to prove himself, but for the team to finally display the results of its hard work.
"I can't wait," he said. "I cannot wait until we can make it happen for real, and I think that's how everybody feels."