All rookies go through growing pains, and that has been the case for second-round pick Quan Martin.
Martin, who was considered one of the top defensive backs in the NFL Draft, has been focused on finding where he fits in the Washington Commanders' secondary. The talent is certainly there, but that hasn't always shown itself as he tied to learn multiple positions.
On Monday night, Martin gave Commanders fans a reminder as to why the coaches were so excited to have him on the roster in the form of a wild interception in the end zone, followed by a 59-yard return.
"I think he learned from last week," said head coach Ron Rivera. "I think the biggest thing more than anything else, was he put himself in position to make a play. There are a lot of things that we can be better at as a team, and I know he knows he can be better too. As we go through this, we're going to grow and learn from this."
Check out the best photos from the Washington Commanders' second preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. (Photos by Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)
Ravens quarterback Josh Johnson sent a pass down the left side of the field, aiming for it to land in the hands of wideout James Proche II. But Martin was on the draw and stopped a potential game-winning touchdown by letting Proche's momentum carry him out of bounds and positioning himself in the right spot for the pick.
"I was in a trail position," Martin said. "I knew I needed to keep running and make a play on the ball, so I did."
That same running and quick thinking kept him going for a 59-yard return. He started running down the right sideline before picking up some blocks from his fellow defenders, allowing him to go down the opposite sideline and give Washington back the necessary yardage.
Martin walked into Monday night's game against Baltimore looking to improve his performance from last week's first preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. He was beaten out for a touchdown and received several penalties; however, he had a good blocking game.
"I definitely did a lot better than last week," Martin said. "Still got some things to clean up on my end, but overall a better game."
The Washington Commanders wrapped up camp with one final practice in front of the fans. Check out the best photos from Saturday morning.
For this week, he zoned in on his performance regarding penalties and losing the outside edge to provide a clean act for Washington's defense and bring home another preseason win. Martin succeeded on that account and has a vision for where he wants to move forward and how he can accomplish it.
"Just keep learning, man, not letting a situation just define me as a player and who I am," Martin said. "So just continuing to get better, continuing to learn from the older guys, and just be better each and every day."
Martin's continuing work in the season alongside talented fellow Kendall Fuller, Benjamin St-Juste and Emmanuel Forbes gave him a chance to develop a strong technique on a team he hoped he'd end up on from the start of the NFL draft.
Martin sits as a second-string cornerback for Washington, providing quickness and positional flexibility- he can fill the roles of slot cornerback, outside cornerback, and safety.
When the Commanders picked him up in the draft's second round, he was excited to head to Washington and work with the defensive coaching team. He admired the style and success of the team and felt he could learn a lot while here.
That same coaching led Washington to a win during Monday's game and kept players working even after a few unsuccessful plays.
"The grit of this team, fighting to the very end," Martin said." Just not letting a play or two decide the way the game was going to go. This team fought till the end, and we were able to come out on top."
Martin still has a long way to go in his NFL career, but plays like his interception show why his future with the Commanders is bright.
A morning roundup of content from the Washington Commanders on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023.
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Check Out What's On Commanders.com:
- Joey Slye shows why he still has Rivera's trust
- Sam Howell showed once again why he deserves to be Commanders' starting QB
- Five takeaways from Washington's preseason win over the Ravens
- Sam Howell named Commanders starting quarterback
- Training camp notebook, Day 18 | Rivera confident in decision to name Howell Commanders' starter
- Training camp notebook, Day 19 | Dyami Brown believes there's 'no limit' to what Howell can accomplish
- 'He did the things he needed to do': Inside Rivera's decision to name Howell Commanders' starting QB
- Commanders sign DT Isaiah Mack, P Michael Palardy; release K Michael Badgley, WR Jalen Sample
- Training camp notebook, Day 16 | Commanders look sharp in first joint practice with Ravens
- Training camp notebook, Day 15 | Montez Sweat has 'great explosion, play speed and quickness'
- McLaurin's connection with Howell has 'definitely' taken step forward
- Young fans take center stage on Commanders’ Kids Day
- 'They're doing a heck of a job': Bieniemy pleased with steady improvement from O-Line
- Training camp notebook, Day 13 | Jack Del Rio wants defense to start fast, create more turnovers in 2023
- Commanders’ Salute Day delivers connection, dose of fun to members of the military community
- Joey Slye, Michael Badgley embracing kicker competition
- Training camp notebook, Day 12 | Bieniemy thinks 'the sky could be the limit' for Howell
- Training camp notebook, Day 11 | Commanders value versatility in backend of WR room