It’s safe to say that many of the Redskins’ first-stringers didn’t put a lot of stock into Thursday night’s game against Tampa Bay. They viewed the preseason finale as a chance to relax on the sideline and watch other guys duke it out for the final spots on the team’s soon-to-be 53-man roster.
Josh Wilson was not part of that peanut gallery. For the ex-Baltimore Ravens cornerback, Thursday night’s game presented an opportunity to regain old form and develop chemistry with new teammates. Wilson — who arrived in Washington in July to replace Carlos Rodgers — wanted to prove he was fully recovered from the groin injury that kept him sidelined for the two previous preseason contests.
That proof came largely in the form of a single play in the second quarter. Wilson went up and snagged a high throw from Tampa Bay reserve quarterback Jonathan Crompton, returning the interception 20 yards to put the Redskins in scoring position. For Wilson, it provided a much-needed shot of confidence heading into next Sunday’s opener against the New York Giants.
“It definitely felt good getting my hand on the ball getting ready to go into this first game,” Wilson said. “I’ve just got to keep it going.”
Wilson joined defensive end Adam Carriker as the only first-teamers to start on defense against the Bucs. While fellow first-string corner DeAngelo Hall watched from the sideline, Wilson played the entire first half before sitting out the second.
“[Thursday’s game] was real big for me,” Wilson said. “It was good to get my feet underneath of me, especially since I haven’t had much time just to get in the groove of things again.”
After spending his first three seasons in Seattle, Wilson recorded 40 tackles, three interceptions and 14 pass deflections in 14 appearances for Baltimore last year. He hopes to restore order to a defensive backfield that ranked 31st in the league last year.
“You can’t go nowhere but up,” Wilson said. “I’ll just go out there and hope to make a difference and hope to be a much better team this year all around. We’re going to bring a lot of production and put up a lot of points on our side. We’re going to score points and just change the whole atmosphere around here to make this an aggressive defense.”
With renewed confidence and a fully healed leg, Wilson appears poised to help bring that improvement right away.
“I feel great and ready to roll,” he said.