As a player at a crowded position this preseason, inside linebacker Bryan Kehl knew that he needed to make plays to stand out. Through the first three preseason games, Kehl made 10 tackles – which ranked him among the team’s leaders – and got his hands on two passes, only to drop them both.
Kehl finally redeemed himself Wednesday night in the preseason finale when he came up with one of the three interceptions thrown by Tampa Bay backup quarterback Brett Ratliff.
Kehl made a diving catch at Washington’s 6-yard line, then got up and returned the ball 43 yards before he was tackled.
The play, plus six tackles against Tampa Bay, gave Kehl a sense of accomplishment as he braces for what will be a stressful couple of days.
Redskins coaches will evaluate players Thursday and must submit the names of the 22 players they want to cut by Friday at 9 p.m., in order to get the roster down to the 53-player limit mandated by the NFL.
Kehl, who is battling for a spot behind London Fletcher and Perry Riley, said he knows he did everything he could this preseason.
“My thoughts coming into the game were ‘lay it out there on the line and let the chips fall where they fall’. I felt like I did that,” Kehl said. “I laid everything out there, I gave my all, and they have tough decisions to make. But I’m at peace with how I played.”
Kehl admitted he might not have the same feeling had he not made that interception.
“Words can’t describe,” he said with a big smile. “There were four preseason games. I played inside linebacker on three of them, and last week I played outside linebacker. Every time I played inside, I got my hands on the ball, and I dropped it twice – one of them to win the game. But I think that that says something: that I’m getting to the ball. But I worked on it. I caught 200 balls on the JUGS machine since that second one that I dropped until tonight, so that paid off.”