One of the Redskins' top contributors the last two seasons, Bashaud Breeland reflects on his time in the NFL to date and looks to how he can improve in 2016.
Believe or not, Bashaud Breeland self-admittedly had some difficulties adjusting to the professional ranks in 2014.
Despite starting 15 games that season and earning NFL.com All-Rookie Team honors, the game, as is it for most rookies, was played at a pace Breeland wasn't used to just yet.
"I feel like I have matured a lot, the game is starting to slow down to me, I'm starting to see a lot of things differently," Breeland told Larry Michael on "Redskins Nation" this week. "When I first got here I was a little antsy, I couldn't really get everything that I wanted to get out of myself, but more and more as time went along it came good to me."
Not only did it come along for him, Breeland is now firmly the team's top cornerback.
Last season, after serving a league-mandated one-game suspension to the start the season, the Clemson product appeared in 15 games with 14 starts, finishing third on the team in tackles (89) while also forcing three fumbles to go along with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Part of that production comes from a changed mindset.
In college, he was simply more athletic than his counterparts. That's not always the case in the NFL.
"I had to learn it when I got here, at first I was just a guy feeling like I can do everything off my athletic ability," Breeland said. "But once I got here I learned that the game was more mental than physical."
Breeland also has an interesting twist to his weekly preparations during the season.
Check out the top images of Bashaud Breeland from the 2015 season.
"I pretty much study everything, my teammates [and] their movements. I really don't worry about what the opponents are going to do, just learn their playbook and learn the tendencies that they have, but I don't watch how they do their routes," Breeland said. "Because in the game it really changes and you really don't know like what he's going to do, you've got to react. But if you know what your teammate is going to do and know where your help is at, then you can react to anything."
As Breeland looks to remain not only the Redskins' top cornerback in 2016 but perhaps finally get the league-wide attention he deserves, he's been working on himself this offseason, finding out exactly what makes him tick.
"I'm a football player but I see it as my hobby, but I want to be more than just a football player," I want to do more things, I want to impact lives in a different way just not on the football field."
He added: "I mean really 'Breeland Island' to me is I'm showing you that I'm not just a football player, not just a corner," Breeland said. "I shut down in the corner, I shut down in everything and in life I'm trying to change the concept of how everybody's living in the world today."