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  • Erica Blackburn

Cole Holcomb Ready to Take Next Step

Linebacker Cole Holcomb has turned his mohawk hairstyle into a mullet, but he’s also ready to turn the page on a sophomore season and take the next step.

Washington chose the 6-foot-1, 240-pound former Tar Heel defender in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Holcomb posted 105 total tackles and three forced fumbles as a rookie. His second season was slowed by a knee injury he suffered in the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Head coach Ron Rivera has noticed the strides Holcomb has made.

"You don't see him biting on things initially as hard as he did,” said Rivera. “The nice thing is if he does, he's got enough ability to react quickly and get himself back to where he needs to go, but you do see him practicing better, practicing faster, having a better knowledge of the defense. The little things, little details in his game have really stepped up in terms of taking the proper steps, taking better angles, using and understanding what his leverages and coverages are. Those are the things that you really appreciate with Cole, because he's so athletic that any quick step or good first step gets him into the play faster."

During his media availability, Holcomb acknowledged he was thinking too much and it was affecting his play early on, but started to turn the corner last season.

“I stopped trying to play as much to be right,” Holcomb said. “I wrote on my arm every day like just go, man like just play fast. You're going to make mistakes. They preach it every day. So just start trusting that and you're good. Believe in yourself and everything else will take care of itself and go out there and have fun.”

Holcomb also stated he was able to get a better grasp of how to play the position last season.

“You can start thinking about second-level stuff. You're not thinking about necessarily exactly what your job is. You can kind of focus on what the offense has given you and your looks, anticipate some plays that are coming. And then when you see what you're anticipating, then you can be a step quicker. You can have a more confidence in terms of, ‘Hey’, help somebody out here. I can help somebody out there. I know where my help's at, so I could take a shot here or at a shot there. I just think it's my second year with the defense getting a lot more confidence in it.”

Holcomb and rookie linebacker Jamin Davis have been the two regulars during 11-on-11s in training camp. Davis would typically play the Mike (middle linebacker) spot, and Holcomb would be stationed outside at the Sam (strongside) or Will (weakside) position.

We’ll see how the duo looks tomorrow when the Washington Football Team plays the New England Patriots at 7:30pm ET.

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