Chase Minnifield has had a real tough journey into the NFL. He struggled with injuries in his final year in college, which lead to him being undrafted despite having second or third round talent. The Redskins signed him as an undrafted free agent with the hope he could overcome those injury troubles. He impressed in OTAs and mini-camps, but then was shut down for the season as he struggled to stay healthy.
This season Minnifield is finally healthy and has been impressing during training camp. With starting corners DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson out due to injuries, Minnifield had an opportunity last night to stake his claim for a roster spot. David Amerson took most of the attention, but Minnifield was every bit as impressive.
Here Minnifield is lined up in press coverage against Nate Washington. Minnifield takes an inside shade on the receiver, telling him that he's not allowing an inside release on this route.
Minnifield initiates contact and gets his hands on Washington early, attempting to disrupt the timing of the route.
Washington plants and pivots back towards the quarterback. Minnifield sticks with him well until this point.
Washington manages to escape Minnifield's coverage for a split second as Minnifield's momentum takes him past the receiver.
The ball is delivered perfectly on time and Washington is able to bring in the pass. Minnifield couldn't have done much more on that play given the timing of the throw from quarterback Jake Locker. Washington was open for a split second, but that's the margins you play by in the NFL.
On this play, Minnifield lines up in off-man coverage.
Minnifield gives receiver Kenny Britt a 10-yard cushion and is looking to keep the play in front of him on second and 16. Britt is running a quick stop route that could see him get the ball in the open field one on one with Minnifield.
Minnifield begins to backpedal with his eyes on the quarterback.
Minnifield glances at the receiver and recognizes the route.
He instantly drives on the ball.
Minnifield does and excellent job of breaking on the ball and closing the 10-yard cushion quickly.
He gets there in time to break up the pass. Here is that play in gif form:
Plays like that will catch the eye of the coaches.
As will plays in the run game. An overlooked play of this game was the last play of the first half.
The Titans call for a standard power run play with a pulling guard. The running back is going to follow the guard into the hole.
The Titans manage to seal off a big portion of the Redskins defense inside. As the running back bounces outside towards the hole, Minnifield emerges as the only defender in a position to make the play.
Minnifield closes the gap quickly, but doesn't take the best angle.
But he is able to wrap an arm around the running back as he dives to make the play.
He's able to wrap up and bring down the runner without any help. The teams then went into their locker rooms for half time and nobody mentioned this play. But Minnifield was the only player in position to make the play; if he had missed, who knows what could have happened.
Being reliable against the run is a huge plus for any corner, let alone a guy trying to make the team. I love that he wrapped the guy up and used his momentum to bring him down. It shows Minnifield knows how to tackle, rather than just go for a big hit. Plenty of other Redskins corners could learn a lesson from that play.