As players take their final breaks before training camp, The Redskins Blog will take a look back at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them, football and otherwise, so far.
Today, we'll focus on rookie defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis.
1. He was nicknamed "The Professor":
As a team captain for the Temple Owls, Ioannidis' teammates dubbed him "The Professor" for his knack of learning the defense quickly.
"I like to think it's because I had that playbook memorized back at Temple," he said, "but I'm sure other people will give different reasons."
Check out images of defensive end Matt Ioannidis during his first few months with the Washington Redskins.
2. Ioannidis can play multiple positions: **
Though Ioannidis primarily played defensive tackle at Temple, the Redskins have been impressed with how versatile he is and how quickly he has been able to pick up and play all the defensive line positions at a high level. Head coach Jay Gruden says his position is defensive linemen because of how good he can perform at every technique.
"So far they have just been telling me to prepare for everything," Ioannidis said. "Learn all three inside positions so that is what I've been doing. I've basically just been focusing on the scheme rather than just the position, that way things down the line ever come into place where I have to play one or the other I'd know them all. So, at the moment, I've been putting on a little weight, learn them all, and just stay discipline."
3. He doesn't care where he plays on the defensive line:
Ioannidis has been adamant since day one that he is willing to play wherever the team needs him most.
"I just want to play ball," he said. "At the end of the day I just want to play ball. I don't care where it is on the field, I just want to play ball."
4. Ioannidis already has a connection with Chris Baker:
Rookies need something to help them relate to their veteran peers. It makes the process of changing lifestyles a little easier and less intimidating. Such was the case for Ioannidis with a fellow D-lineman.
"Chris [Baker] has been taking me under his wing," he said. "He played with my coach in college, so it's been good to have someone I know there."* *
5. He's around 300 pounds and looking to add more weight: **
While he can play many positions on the defensive line it looks as though head coach Jay Gruden wants him to gain more weight to eventually play nose tackle.
"I think he can gain 15 pounds and be a very good nose guard," Gruden said. "He's played the three-technique. I've seen him rush the passer very well. He was very good at the combine, very athletic. He times the snap extremely well. He's a nuisance. He gets in the backfield and makes a lot of plays, and he hustles. What he doesn't have maybe physically trait-wise with speed and all that stuff, he makes up for with his tenacity."
6. The hardest thing about transitioning to the pros for him was the playbook:
Su'a Cravens said the team threw half the playbook on him for the first day in the building, an indication of how difficult it is to be thrust into the next level of football. Ioannidis has has had a similar experience.
* *"It's a lot more detailed, but honestly I would just say that it's comes down to a more complicated scheme than what most colleges are running," Ioannidis said. "There's more pressures, more blitzes, more movement, and different words for your movement which you've learned for 4 years and you got to uninstall it and reinstall something new. I would say the biggest adjustment is learning the playbook and the learning curve there. I'm getting it down now, I've been here for two weeks and it's starting to click for me, but that first week it was just nonsense in my mind."
7. He played lacrosse in high school:
Matt was very athletic growing up. In trying to pass the time during the spring while waiting for football, he decided to take up lacrosse.
"Yes I played lacrosse in high school. I was a midfielder," Ioannidis said. "I was a lot lighter back then, around 215 [pounds]. About 100 pounds ago I played lacrosse."