'He's the playbook:' Kendall Fuller's savviness is on full display at camp

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'He's the playbook:' Fuller's prep is on full display at camp originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Like many kids, Kendall Fuller truly grasped the value of studying once he arrived on a college campus.

When Fuller began playing for Virginia Tech as a freshman, he saw how watching tape could really improve his performance in the secondary. And after three seasons with the Hokies and six years (so far) in the NFL, Fuller has maintained his commitment to the film side of football.

"That's just something I always kind of took with me," Fuller told reporters on Wednesday at Washington Commanders training camp.

The intelligence he's built up by being so dedicated to his off-field work has caused those who surround Fuller to revere him.

"K-Full, he's the playbook," safety Darrick Forrest told NBC Sports Washington. "He can tell me anything I need to know."

“He's a really smart dude and a really smart football player," Kam Curl said in a press conference. "A safety can come to him, a corner can come to him, and a nickel will come to him for anything. Him just being that versatile guy who knows everything, it's great to have him in the locker room.”

Thus far, Fuller is having himself a stellar camp, as he's using his immense knowledge and experience to show up in the correct position time and time again.

The 27-year-old has logged multiple interceptions against Carson Wentz thanks to airtight coverage, and he's even erased Terry McLaurin a decent amount in both full-squad action and one-on-one drills, which those unfortunate enough to match up with McLaurin don't often do.

In fact, he's playing so soundly and with so much discipline that the offense is having to pick his brain so it can then take advantage of him later on.

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While chatting with JP Finlay on the Washington Football Talk podcast, Fuller recalled a play in OTAs where Wentz tried to pick out McLaurin for a post completion, yet Fuller made it impossible for the quarterback to even attempt a pass. After that sequence, Wentz apparently asked Fuller why he played the route the way he did — and then at training camp, Wentz and McLaurin connected in a similar situation.

"They altered some things," Fuller said to Finlay.

Fuller has since tweaked his own approach and found himself "in better shape" when Wentz has threatened him in that area of the defense on ensuing snaps. He takes pride in eliminating mistakes on the rare occasions he makes them.

"He's got a very good athletic skill set," Rivera said of Fuller. "Now, you couple that with really being a smart football player, a very headsy guy that's got a tremendous amount of anticipation, and he's got a chance to make plays."

Fuller also enjoys passing along his wisdom — which he largely gathers every Tuesday during the regular season at the facility, information that he supplements with at-home study sessions — to the other members of the defensive backs room.

"I love it because it's all about us learning the game," Fuller said in a Wednesday presser. "The more you learn the game, the more you understand the game, that's when it slows down, it gets slower. You're able to go out there and make plays."

Fuller's 2021 was a disappointment compared to what he did in 2020 when he returned to Washington after a stint in Kansas City. Fuller's interception total dropped from four to one and he allowed 252 more passing yards in coverage, according to Pro Football Reference.

Based on his track record — and what he's displayed recently — he's trending toward a serious recovery. Should he keep it up, he'll be awfully pleased with what he sees out of himself when he pulls up the tape every week beginning this fall.