After missing his entire rookie season with a concussion, Redskins linebacker Martrell Spaight returned to the field Thursday evening and led the defense with five tackles.
Martrell Spaight had a lot of different emotions being back on the field.
There was the anger over the fact that the hard-hitting linebacker hadn't played in a football game for 11 months. There was the slight fear of playing again after a concussion. And there was the pure adrenaline that came over him just before entering the game, getting the troops fired up with an intense pregame speech.
"It definitely was built up with anger and aggression," Spaight said of his speech. "But at the same time, I'm just like that every game. It's the approach that I have every time I go into a game and I just want my teammates to play with that same fire and intensity behind them."
That fire transitioned over to the field after he replaced Will Compton at the Mike linebacker position.
Check out these photos of Arkansas linebacker Martrell Spaight, the 141st-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
He finished the evening with a team-high five tackles before the third-team defense made their appearance.
"Felt good to be out there in actual full game mode, full speed," Spaight said. "We've got a lot of stuff to work on but I'm definitely glad to be back out there."
Spaight's self-evaluation was that he played fairly well, getting all of his defensive calls correct and making sure the other 10 guys on the field were lined up correctly.
"I've just got to polish up on the small details and just continue to go out there and play ball and get better," Spaight said.
Like Spaight, rookie Su'a Cravens popped out through Thursday's game.
The USC product – who was drafted in the second round – totaled three tackles while showing the ability to fly around the field, whether it was in coverage against a speedy wide receiver like Aldrick Robinson or coming up to clog running lanes.
"Yeah, he did a great job today," Spaight said. "He's making his calls and checks, what he's supposed to be doing, and he was flying around, making plays. It was a good shock to see that he's going to be a great player in the future."