It can be argued he made the biggest play of the season. Su'a Cravens showed exactly the type of player he is with a game winning interception in the final minute of the Redskins first win of the season in New York.
That play, the first interception of his NFL career, and that game proved to the Washington defensive coaches Cravens belonged on the field, even as a rookie. He played the most snaps of his career at that point against the Giants, hitting the field for 29 of 67 defensive snaps, and was well on his way to a larger role.
The following week, Cravens suffered a concussion against the Browns, and on Thursday, Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry admitted that slowed the rookie's development.
"That concussion was a little bit of a setback for him," Barry said. "Young players, especially guys that are as young as 21 years old like he is, he needs to play. He needs to practice. He needs every single rep, so it was a little bit of a setback for him."
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Cravens missed two weeks with the concussion before returning to the field Week 7 against the Lions. Even his return was limited, however, as Cravens played just 11 defensive snaps in Detroit.
Against the Bengals in London, Cravens got back to making plays. He logged a sack and two tackles, and showed his speed and athleticism flying to the football. He played 30 snaps against Cincinnati, the most of his rookie season, and Barry was asked if more playing time is in the cards for Cravens.
"I think we're on our way to creating that," Barry said.
At inside linebacker - Cravens' current postition - the Redskins have a bit of a logjam. Will Compton and Mason Foster are playing well, though Barry made clear he plans to figure out a way to get Cravens on the field with the veteran linebackers.
"We have different packages, we have different ways to do that," Barry said.
Another avenue to more snaps for the former USC Trojan could be at the safety position. Cravens played a hybrid linebacker/safety role in college, and some believe he can handle some secondary work in the NFL as well. That includes Joe Barry.
"We always could throw Su'a in multiple places," the coordinator said.
Against the Bengals, safeties Will Blackmon and Duke Ihenacho sustained injuries. Blackmon dislocated and broke his thumb while Ihenacho suffered a concussion. Barry said that the bye week came at a good time for both safeties, as it would be a big question if either Blackmon or Ihenacho could have played last week. After a week to rest, Barry expects both to be on the field Sunday against the Vikings.
"I don't foresee them having any issues on Sunday playing," Barry said of his veteran safeties.
With both Blackmon and Ihenacho healthy, not to mention Donte Whitner installed at one safety spot, the need isn't pressing for Cravens at safety. That said, Barry wants to get his rookie on the field, and Cravens' versatility gives the coordinator more flexibility.
"I think that's a potential, absolutely," Barry said of Cravens at safety.
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