Linebacker Jon Bostic wants to know everything.
Mastering his position comes first, of course, but the newly signed Redskin concerns himself with the responsibilities of the other linebackers, too. And the secondary. And the defensive front.
Bostic said he has been like this since his playing days at Florida from 2009-12, and he's carried this habit throughout his first six NFL seasons.
Now, after signing with the Redskins on May 22, Bostic will aim to distribute his expansive knowledge to a young linebacker corps in Washington.
"I talk a lot on the field. I communicate a lot. That’s something that makes the job easy," Bostic told Redskins.com after his first practice May 23.
"They used to call me ‘the explainer’ back then because I wanted to know what the [defensive backs] were doing and what calls they were making. Half the time, before they could make their call, I’m making it for them. It’s a little joke that I’ve had with the secondary, but we’ve got to be on the same page, we’ve got to be on the same page with the defensive line. And when all of us are on the same page on defense, regardless of what we’re running, we’re all right."
The Redskins adding Bostic was largely seen as a response to the injury of Reuben Foster, who suffered a torn ACL during the first day of OTAs and was placed on IR two days later.
In the same press release, the organization announced the signing of Bostic, who has played with five franchises over his first six NFL seasons. He spent his first three years in Chicago, where he played with current Redskins inside linebacker Mason Foster for a short stint in 2015. Bostic has also played for the New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts and most recently the Pittsburgh Steelers, starting 14 games a year ago.
Bostic said that as soon as he came available -- the Steelers cut him April 27 following the NFL Draft -- the Redskins were the first team to show interest. He immediately started delving into their defensive system, which he said is "very similar" to the defense he played in with the Colts in 2017.
So, when the Redskins did end up signing him following Reuben Foster's injury, Bostic was prepared, so much so that he ended up making defensive calls in his first practice.
"Some of the guys were a little surprised by that, but football is football," Bostic said May 23. "It was fun getting back out there and just being able to play football.”
Bostic joins what he views to be a versatile linebacker group in Washington, even with the loss of Reuben Foster. Among the returners are the run-stopping Mason Foster, the tall and long Josh Harvey-Clemons and the shorter and quicker Shaun Dion Hamilton. The Redskins also have Cole Holcomb, a fifth-round rookie with the elite speed and overall athleticism to assist in coverage if called upon.
How Bostic fits in to this dynamic remains to be seen. He is not known for his pass-rushing prowess (5.5 career sacks) or his coverage ability (one interception and 10 passes defended in six seasons). But he's been a durable and consistent option the past two seasons, starting 28 games and making 170 tackles over that stretch.
Bostic is also a veteran and a journeyman. He's proven himself to be a capable NFL linebacker and has engrossed himself in several defenses along the way.
In Washington, he'll lean on all of these qualities to help his newest franchise in whatever way possible.
"I like where I'm at," Bostic said. "Right now, I'm just coming in, working hard, being a leader and proving myself -- nothing short of what I've been doing since I’ve been in the league. Lead by example, be vocal when I'm out there. That's one of my main strengths is how vocal I am. And I know defenses backwards and forwards, so I only feel like that's going to help me and help the defense going forward."