Duke Ihenacho is no longer the only former Denver Broncos Safety on the Washington Redskins roster. David Bruton joins the club as the Redskins announced that they signed the eight-year veteran defensive back and special teams standout. Bruton, who was the longest tenured member of the Super Bowl Champions roster, had his season cut short due to a broken fibula late in the year. Off the field, he has made major contributions to his community and was named the Broncos' Walter Payton Man of the Year. On the field, Bruton has been a special teams ace and a spot starter on defense. I took a look at the film to see what kind of player the Redskins had signed.
1. David Bruton is playing safety here in a Cover 4 shell (second defensive back down).
A Tight End slips free underneath and Phillip Rivers dumps the ball off. Bruton saw him and is already crashing on the play.
Bruton doesn't get juked. He doesn't hesitate, takes a good angle and runs right through the pass catcher.
2. Bruton is lined up like an extra linebacker in the box here. The Chargers are running a counter play back to his side.
Bruton rides the block down the line and keeps his eye on the ball carrier. Bruton puts his foot in the ground as he sees the running back coming back his way.
Bruton fills the gap and meets the ball carrier in the hole. He makes the tackle.
3. Bruton is playing nickel linebacker on this play. The Broncos are showing a Cover 4 shell but are going to shift into a Cover 3. Bruton is responsible for the middle of the field.
One receiver makes his way to the middle of the field and Bruton shows good zone awareness to pick him up. At the top, a curl route is coming open and Rivers sees that.
Rivers hits the receiver on the curl route and Bruton has already peeled off his guy and ran towards the route. He makes the tackle here.
4. Danny Woodhead is lined up in the slot here. He is going to chip the outside linebacker and then release into the flat route. Bruton has Woodhead in man coverage.
Bruton sees Woodhead start releasing and puts his foot in the ground to crash on the route.
Bruton shows good speed in closing on Woodhead. Rivers is forced to throw the ball over both of their heads out of bounds.
5. I believe this is one of those examples of a Quarterback and Tight end working together for a long time. It appears Antonio Gates can run a route based on coverage. Bruton has him in man coverage. With no one else in the middle, Bruton is going to play inside technique to prevent a drag route being completed.
When Bruton goes to cut the middle of the field off, Gates uses his momentum to push off him and turn outside.
A little veteran push off creates this separation. Bruton quickly closes the gap and makes the tackle.
6. On the very next play, Gates is lined up in relatively the same spot with a drag route. This time Bruton is lined up right over him in press coverage.
This time, Bruton gets physical with Gates to prevent any kind of push off.
Pressure from the defensive line rushes the throw but Bruton stayed physical with Gates throughout the entirety of the route so Gates didn't even look for the ball. The pass goes right by them and gets intercepted.
7. Bruton is lined up out wide in man coverage over Antonio Gates. Gates is running a curl route.
Bruton gave him a big cushion when Gates breaks, Bruton also puts his foot in the ground. If you look at Rivers, you can see the ball is already coming out and the linebacker on underneath coverage hasn't even cleared yet.
Bruton doesn't get juked and takes another good angle, bringing down Gates for the tackle.
8. Here is Bruton playing deep. The Chargers are running a draw play.
Because of the pass set before the draw, Bruton bails back. As you can see, he's almost out of the screen. Rivers then hands the ball off.
The running back makes it through the first and second level barely being touched and Bruton does a great job of taking the right angle in order to make the tackle here, minimizing the damage.
9. Here is Danny Woodhead in the slot again. He's running a slant. Bruton has him in man coverage.
Bruton shows good explosion. As soon as Woodhead breaks, Bruton has his foot in the ground breaking too.
Woodhead can't run away from Bruton and is covered. At 6'2" and 220 lbs, for Bruton, that is pretty impressive.
10. Here is Antonio Gates on a post route in the middle of the field. Bruton has him in man coverage.
Bruton peaked into the backfield and lost leverage, he gets a little handsy here.
Bruton runs underneath Gates and then Gates tries pushing off of him. The ball goes elsewhere. It was a good battle between these two all game.
11. Bruton is lined up over the receiver at the top of the screen but this is just a disguised coverage. Bruton is actually bailing to a deep safety and the underneath guy is going to fan out. Chargers are running a hand off to the other side.
Once Bruton sees that it's a hand off, he immediately begins his pursuit. the running back makes it through the line and breaks it to the opposite sideline.
Bruton catches him at the other sideline and tackles him. This is an incredible effort on Bruton's part.
12. Antonio Gates is going to head to the flat area on this play. The outside receiver is running a curl route.
Bruton has Gates covered in the flat area. The curl route starts coming open.
Bruton peels off his coverage and makes the tackle on the curl route; another effort play.
Many people try and peg what Scot McCloughan means when he says he wants a "football player." If you're not a blue chip player, you better be smart, versatile and show a lot of effort. David Bruton is all of those things. He played as a single high safety, he played in the box, he played in the slot, and he played as a linebacker. He does hesitate at times on defense but when he makes up his mind, his 4.4 speed is on display. That speed is also evident as he rushes downfield on special teams which is one of the reasons he has been a captain there in the past.
The Redskins need a lot of help in the secondary and Bruton will compete to be part of that process. At the very least, the Redskins now have a special teams demon they have been lacking since they let Lorenzo Alexander leave.
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