Chris Culliver’s Fit in the Redskins Secondary


Play 6 – Speed off of the line of scrimmage seems like one of Culliver’s biggest problems in press-coverage especially on smaller receivers like DeSean Jackson where he lets free releases on what should be jammed seen in this play.

Culliver needs to get a better jam on these smaller receivers or play more conservatively using his excellent recovery speed to stick with those types of receivers.

Play 7 – Culliver was used by San Francisco in press-coverage on TE80 Jimmy Graham.

Here Culliver attempts to jam Graham, but the large TE is able to get his hands inside the shoulder pads of Culliver before Culliver can fully extend his negating his jam and pushing him backwards and out of the play.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees sees this and places the ball on Graham for an easy slant route reception.

Play 8 – Run defense is where Culliver seems to struggle the most in his overall play. Culliver seems willing and able to attack the running back and even diagnosing it early on, but he seems weak in tackling to take down the ball-carrier.

Play 9 – This is my least favorite play by Culliver. In this play, he gets sucked in on the play-action fake and allows a wide-open touchdown over the top to the tight end. With no safety help, his responsibility is to cover the deep half and make sure nothing gets behind him. This play takes advantage of something that affected him since college.

Play 10 – Here Culliver plays Cover 3 and is responsible for the right deep third on the far side of your screen.

Culliver is such a fluid athlete in space and has the recovery speed to defend passes from off-man coverage which makes him an ideal free safety if the Redskins wanted to use him there. This should come as no surprise as he lined up as free safety in college at the University of South Carolina until his final season in which he switched to cornerback full-time. In this play, Culliver takes his drop, and then explodes to the receiver on the out-route that he is covering once the ball is released to shut down the potential route.

Play 11 and 12 – Culliver again in Cover 3 watches Brees the entire play and sees Brees attempt to force a pass to Graham to the endzone. Culliver watches him and jumps the route taking the interception back for 25 yards the opposite direction. Later in the game Culliver watches Brees again from Cover 3 and swats down the ball in zone coverage using his hip fluidity and speed to close down the route.

Play 13 – One thing that I noticed for Chris Culliver is that he plays aggressively and is almost too feisty to the point where it can cause penalties. After the touchdown to Graham, Culliver shoves him and almost knocks down the referee in frustration as other Saints players try to get to Graham to separate the two.

Overall, the Washington Redskins picked up an excellent player to add to their secondary. His ability to stick with wide receivers in press-man coverage with his fluid hips and quick recovery allows him to stay with the vast majority of wide receivers. The shifty, speed wide receivers like Arizona’s Josh Brown and Redskins-own DeSean Jackson give him the biggest issue especially on double moves due to his lack of route anticipation. Tackling will have to be improved especially if the Redskins plan on using the Cover 1 Robber looks that Wade Phillips uses after blitzing one of the inside linebackers as this could result in larger gains that were not allowed in San Francisco’s Cover 2.

Samuel Gold

Sam founded NFL Breakdowns after working his way through the journalist farm system and is enjoying life in the big league. Growing up outside of Washington, D.C., Sam didn’t choose the Redskins, the Redskins chose him. Out of a love for the game and an insatiable curiosity to determine why his beloved team was underperforming, Sam turned to studying film in NFL Breakdowns.