Redskins rookie defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis says that one of his strengths is being able to identify his weaknesses.

“I’m my own toughest critic,” the team’s fifth-round draft pick said Saturday after the team’s rookie minicamp practice session. “I like to think I know my own flaws, my own strengths and make my weaknesses my strengths.”

He is working on two things right now. One is improving his ability to get into the backfield to disrupt and make plays.

“It comes down to who gets off the ball fast, he said. “That’s been an emphasis for me over this minicamp, just getting off the ball and penetrating to make plays in the backfield.”

In 2015 Ioannidis had 11.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, earning the Temple Owl All-AAFC honors as a senior. But he knows that it’s going to be tougher to make plays at the NFL level. That’s why he also is working on his technique.

“The lower you are, the more advantage you have,” he said. “When you’re low you can bring your hips through with you and be more explosive. I’m sure you can find clips from college of me playing too high so that’s a big emphasis.”

In college a player with Ioannidis’ strength can get away with flawed fundamentals. He can’t in the NFL.

One of the reasons that Scot McCloughan was attracted to Ioannidis was that he is an effort and hustle guy. But he realizes he needs to slow down if he is going to learn what he needs to learn.


“If you try to go a million miles an hour you’ll never get the technique down,” he said. “Fast can be kind of reckless at times, you can pick up the speed when you get the technique down.”

It seems that everyone is anxious to pencil in Ioannidis as the starting nose tackle but if that’s the plan it’s news to him.

“That sort of thing hasn’t been addressed to me yet just because it’s been so fast paced,” he said. “I just want to play ball. I don’t care where it is on the field, I just want to play.”