Washington Redskins safety Deshazor Everett spent a portion of his offseason working with Ryan Clark in Louisiana, with a focus on leg strength and footwork.
Shortly after the conclusion of the 2016 regular season, Washington Redskins safety Deshazor Everett headed home to let his body recover from a grueling campaign and to spend some time with his family.
Everett then shipped off to Houston to ramp up his offseason efforts before Director of Pro Personnel Alex Santos gave him an idea: head back to his home state of Louisiana and work with former Redskins safety Ryan Clark.
"'Tos put it in my ear at first to go up there," Everett told Redskins.com. "Ryan is a guy who started kind of the way I am starting and I can learn a lot from him. I take it upon myself and I took it as a challenge basically to go up there. I wanted to try and learn everything I can from a guy that's done what I am doing right now and try to be the player he was or even better."
Like Everett, Clark wasn't selected in the NFL Draft the year following the completion of his college career. He signed with the New York Giants as a college free agent after the conclusion of the 2002 NFL Draft before spending time with the Redskins in 2004-05 and then again in his final season in 2014.
With the former 13-year NFL veteran willing to work closely with him, Everett doubled his time in Louisiana from two weeks to a month.
"I didn't know how it was, he could be an ex-player that thinks he knows it all. The first day I was like 'Hey Ryan, I was only going to stay for two weeks but I am staying the whole four weeks.' He kind of took me under his wing I guess you could say," Everett said. "I still text him here and there and have little conversations with him. I am going to go back once OTAs are over and get some more work in."
Everett worked mostly on his footwork, doing a lot of single-leg stability drills like single-legged squats and getting the right backpedal steps down, simulating what it would be like to be on the field during games.
"It's amazing how it translates over when you are planted off one foot or when you have to stop on that one leg, how much other muscles you don't normally work on," Everett said. "And how they come into effect once you start strengthening those muscles.
"As a defensive back as far as training you do your backpedal, plant and drive or your single leg squat you think if I just do a lot of weight on one leg you get one leg stronger. No, there's stability muscles play a factor too. I've never really done that intensive training as far as on a medicine ball and you don't want to fall over, but it's definitely challenging. It's something I really tried to embrace and just work on to get better. I feel it's paid off for me."
'It was a challenge'
The Washington Redskins on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, announced the signing of cornerback Deshazor Everett. Take a look back at his college football career at Texas A&M.
Everett is entering his third season with the Redskins, a somewhat unexpected run in Washington considering how he joined the team.
Signed on Aug. 1, 2015, Everett was a mid-training camp addition, seen by some as nothing more than an addition to the expanded offseason roster.
But Everett impressed from the get-go, outperforming players that had a far better grasp of the defensive system. He would make the initial 53-man roster before being waived, brought back onto the practice squad and then on the active roster for the final 11 regular season games that year.
"First time getting released in the NFL is like, 'Hey, you are one of those guys that they said wasn't going to make it and you are already cut so it's happening,'" said Everett, who was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to signing with the Redskins. "It was stressful, not going to lie. The flight home I was thinking about what am I going to do now? What if another team doesn't pick me up? But I was able to get a phone call from the Redskins. When they told me I was going to have a workout, I knew in my mind I was a good player but you don't control what people think, you can only control how you perform. I knew I had to go down there and perform."
Everett also reminded himself not to count the number of defensive backs on the roster, as catching the eyes of the coaching staff was far more important.
"I was third string and I didn't know anything," Everett said. "I didn't know the guys to ask for help. Especially in training camp, you have so many guys out there. Guys who are competing for jobs that are not really trying to help somebody else. Either you are going to get on board or you are going to get lost. I wasn't trying to get lost in the shuffle. I just took it upon myself to really hone in and try to be a better player than I was at Tampa, so I can go and make the team."