After completing his first season as a full-time starter, Redskins linebacker Will Compton believes his best football is ahead of him on a defense that improved in 2015.
Will Compton firmly believes that he has yet to play his best ball with the Washington Redskins.
At just 26 years old and coming off his first season as a starting linebacker in the NFL, it's easy to see why.
"I'm only scratching the surface and I can get a lot better in a lot of areas," Compton said. "You know, I can't wait to come back next year and be even better."
Compton took a step up in both role and production in 2015.
After starting the season once again as the primary backup to incumbent starters Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley Jr., Compton eventually found his way into the starting lineup full-time Week 10 against the New Orleans Saints.
He would remain in the starting lineup down the stretch alongside Mason Foster, and since Week 10, Compton accumulated 68 tackles along with his first career sack and interception, both of which came in the final two games.
"I think Will and Mason work really well together," Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry said in December. "Will stepped up to the challenge when he became the full-time starter. Mason followed his lead and was no different. They not only are going in there and playing, they're making plays. They're contributing. That's what you want. You just don't want a guy to round out the 11, you want a guy to go in, you want all 11 players to make plays. They're both doing that."
Playing the Mike linebacker position also required Compton to take on more of a vocal presence within the defense, barking out calls and getting everyone lined up correctly before the snap.
"Will Compton has been doing a great job for us," defensive captain Dashon Goldson said. "I think he can handle a lot of situations, man. He's calling defenses, he's making checks. I know we put a lot on him, especially one of our backers and evolving into one of our leaders on defense. It's my job to help him out. Whether that's realigning, echoing calls or whether it's getting personnel in there to relieve some of that stress on him, because I know it can get frustrating at times, especially when you're running around and you've got to get guys in the huddle, you've got to look at the sideline and get calls. It's going to take all of us to help him out, man, but I think he's doing a good job. He don't complain about it. He's still making his plays."
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden added during his final press conference of the 2015 season the Compton was "moving up" in terms his standing as a team leader.
Training 'Rocky Balboa' style
Compton will be going back home to Missouri during his time away from Redskins Park in the next couple months.
His goals are to stay healthy and rested — while also spending time with family and friends — but his competitive drive, the same one that kept him going during a rookie season on the practice squad, is as strong as it's ever been.
"I'm always going to go about my business with a chip on my shoulder, that's just the way I came into this league," Compton said. "I can't lose that edge or that mentality because that's what got me to this point, so I'm just going to continue to live in the process, get better each and every day, and come ready to go next year. You know I'm going to have high expectations."