Redskins linebacker Terence Garvin isn't shy to lay down a big hit, but the West Virginia product also wants to be an all-around contributor for the defense.
As the Redskins look to build off of their 2015 campaign that saw them make the playoffs, padding their depth and excelling in all three phases of the game have been goals this offseason.
With the signing of free agent Terence Garvin in March, they did both.
The fourth-year linebacker was a standout on special teams for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but could also be called upon when the team was on defense.
In three seasons, he compiled 33 special teams tackles, the most among any Steeler over that span. True to form, general manager Scot McCloughan signed him to bring a strong veteran presence to the Redskins' units, rather than just relying on unproven younger players to lead the charge.
But as a veteran on the special teams units, he does bring some knowledge to pass along to the younger players.
"Just lock in, make your play," he said. "Don't try to do too much. Take it a day at a time, lock in and make your play that you're supposed to make."
Thus far in training camp and preseason, Garvin is still settling into his new colors. He's been learning an entirely new defense, adjusting to playing with new personnel and getting a general feel for the system. While it's been a change from his first three years, he says "it's been a good few days."
"I mean defense is kind of defense in a sense like it's only so many different things in a cycle so it's different terminology, different things," he said. "But it takes a little bit of time, a couple reps, but we have OTAs."
Garvin attributes the time and effort that he spent studying the playbook between OTAs and training camp as a reason he's picked up the defense so quickly. He intercepted a pass during one of the Redskins' practice sessions last week and followed it up with two tackles – including one for loss – during the team's preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Washington Redskins announced on Friday, March 18, 2016, the signing of free agent linebacker Terence Garvin. Here's a gallery of photos from his career.
For the most part, he's been working with the outside linebackers during individual drills at camp, honing his skills to be more of a threat to quarterbacks in the pocket.
"Just a pass rush trying to help get to the quarterback," he said when asked why he was working with that group in particular. "That's really where everything starts, that's the head of the team is the quarterback, so any means to get to the quarterback, you're with it."
Idolizing the late Sean Taylor, Garvin is a player that can bring the boom. As a special teams player, he often has the opportunity to build up a full head of steam running downfield to tackle the ball carrier.
"I mean I love to hit," Garvin said. "I feel like if you don't practice how you play it kind of shows up so I've just been trying to get myself into position and make the plays I want to be able to make."
Over the past several seasons, the Redskins' special teams units have been a work in progress. Slowly, McCloughan has brought together a core group of veterans to lead those units and to help them make an impact on game days.
With the personnel that the general manager has gathered, Garvin believes the pieces are in place to turn the special teams units in to a strength.
"It can be. You always want it to be," Garvin said. "We've got some good players and got good coaches and we just got to listen in to what they tell us to do and make the plays."