After giving up a deep pass play, rookie cornerback Kendall Fuller showed his tenacity and resolve on the next three plays as he competes for a starting job.
On the first defensive snap of the fourth quarter, Redskins cornerback Kendall Fuller couldn't catch up to Jets wide receiver Robbie Anderson. On a fly route down the left seam of the field, Anderson escaped Fuller's coverage by a couple steps and hauled in a 50 yard pass from quarterback Bryce Petty, maintaining possession despite Fuller's best attempts to rip the ball away.
As a rookie, getting beat is something of a commonality in the preseason, but it's also a test. Coaches are more interested in seeing how a youngster responds on the next series of plays, to see if he can reset and refocus.
Fuller managed to do both. The Virginia Tech product had a role in the next three plays, making two tackles, the last of which was the most impressive, preventing the Jets from the end zone in the Redskins' 22-18 win Friday night.
"Yeah I gave up that deep ball and I'm lucky that they came back to me," Fuller said. "I was able to make some plays so I got to clean up the technique a little and make sure I don't give that up next time."
That was most evident on third down, when Petty tried a screen pass to the left for wide receiver Charone Peake. Fuller burst through his blocker and hit Peake almost immediately after catching the ball, dropping him at the line of scrimmage.
Fuller acknowledged that it's his technique that he will need to continue refining as he competes with Dashaun Phillips for the starting nickel cornerback job.
"Just making sure my technique is right and making sure I don't give up any plays and when you get those opportunities to make some plays, you got to make sure you make them count," Fuller said.
Before that series of plays, Fuller made a few other nice breaks on the football, including another meeting with Peake, this time, sticking close to his body on a slant route over the middle. Fuller hugged Peake's body and batted the ball away with his right arm in front, part of a team-leading four-tackle night.
"I got my hand on the ball a little bit, which is always good but I just got to watch the film and just learn from it," he said.
If anything, Friday night represented another progression for Fuller, as both a football player and a Maryland native that grew up in the shadow of FedExField.
"It actually felt kind of good being out here so much," Fuller said. "I watched my brothers play in FedEx. I had track meets right over at the PG Sports Complex and I had games there, so it kind of felt comfortable, it kind of felt like home, so it was definitely good."