RICHMOND, Va. -- Washington Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland was kicked out of a walk-through on Monday morning by head coach Jay Gruden. Breeland got into an altercation with wide receiver Terrelle Pryor and was ordered to leave the field.
Breeland is entering a critical season. The 2014 fourth-round draft pick has been a starter since his rookie year, but has never found the consistency needed to earn a contract extension from the team. He will be a free agent in March.
Breeland is expected to again start opposite Josh Norman. He can be mercurial at times, however. On Monday morning, Breeland posted a screen caption on his Instagram account of a mildly critical observation by a local reporter. He hasn't always dealt with criticism from coaches well, either. That said, Breeland came out to the afternoon practice 30 minutes early and had a solid day with an interception of Kirk Cousins for a touchdown during team drills.
"I've got a good sense of who Bashaud is, I really do," Gruden said. "I think he's a very competitive individual and he wants to be great. I have no problem with that. Sometimes he does get a little heated from time to time, as do a lot of other guys. As do I. We've just got to channel our emotions and take it out on the other team, not on our own players."
Redskins safety Su'a Cravens is still adjusting to his new position after spending his rookie year in a hybrid dime linebacker role.
Cravens is noticeably lighter at 216 pounds - about 10 less than last season. That will help him keep up in the secondary at strong safety next to free-agent pickup D.J. Swearinger.
He shows a nose for the ball and is a willing tackler. The hope is that Cravens can be a playmaker in the open field and help Washington better match up with opposing tight ends, running backs and wide receivers. At age 22, he does need more experience diagnosing run and pass plays, but the physical tools are there.
"You need guys that are bigger than corners, but smaller than linebackers that can move and be athletic in open space to guard them," Cravens said. "I think guys like me coming from college, they're starting to produce what you need in that 'tweener' role. That's kind of exactly what you need for the NFL now."
Washington will rely on first- and second-year players on the defensive side of the ball this season. That makes Thursday's preseason opener against Baltimore a good test for players who will see a lot of snaps in 2017 - from rookie defensive end Jonathan Allen and linebacker Ryan Anderson to second-year defensive backs Kendall Fuller and Cravens.
"They've been schooled up since OTAs - the majority of them, rookie minicamp - and have had a whole offseason and now training camp," Gruden said. "They should be ready to roll. I'm excited to watch them all. You know, I think they've all shown they're worth a roster spot, now it's a matter of them going out and performing and showing what they have."