The 2014 Redskins are loaded with storylines. Between now and the start of the first veteran minicamp on April 29, Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will examine 20 questions Washington faces as Jay Gruden pieces together the roster, finalizes his playbook and preps for his first season as a head coach in the NFL.
Is David Amerson ready to start?
Well, the short answer is this: The second-year cornerback had better be ready. Based on his draft status (51st overall), the amount of playing time he received last season (third most snaps among all Redskins’ corners) and Jay Gruden’s recent comments, the Redskins’ expectation is that Amerson will start opposite DeAngelo Hall in Week 1. But there’s a fine line between being expected to start and being ready to start. So ... is he?
El-Bashir: Gruden believes Amerson is ready. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett believes he is, too. And, of course, Amerson has been preparing for this moment since he was a kid. But now comes the hardest part of transitioning from a part-timer to a full-timer: consistency. Amerson showed steady improvement in all areas in 2013. He competed harder and got more physical against the run, particularly in the second half. He also made significant strides in press coverage and did a much better job of tracking his man. In fact, it could be argued that Amerson’s best/most complete performance came in the regular season finale against the Giants. That was a really good sign. If Amerson can build on the momentum he gained late in the year, there’s no reason he can’t become a productive starter in 2014, particularly after another full offseason of preparation. The big thing to watch next season, however, is how Amerson fares against his newest challenge: covering top wide receivers.
Tandler: He should be ready. It’s not exactly like he rode the pine as a rookie last year. Amerson got almost 700 snaps under his belt in 2013 so it’s not a big leap to the 1,000 or so plays that a starter sees. Where there a lot of rough edges on display during those 700 snaps? Sure. Was he inconsistent? Yep. But his development won’t be frozen in time from the last snap of the 2013 season to the first play against the Texans in Reliant Stadium on Sept. 7. He will have OTAs, minicamps, training camp, and three preseason games to polish off the rough edged. Amerson won’t be a fully-finished product by the time the season starts but the expectation will be that he will get better as the season goes on. At the start of the season he should be adequate and around the time the by week comes around he should be looking like the player they hoped he would be when they drafted him in the second round a year ago.
- April 10: Who from the draft class of 2011 will step up?
- April 11: Who will claim the punter position?
- April 12: What 2013 draft pick will emerge to play a key role?
- April 13: Will Brian Orakpo take the next step?
- April 14: Will Jordan Reed have a Pro Bowl season?
- April 15: Will the Haslett without handcuffs scheme work?
- April 16: Who will start on the offensive line?
- April 17: What will Jay Gruden’s offense look like?
- April 18: What effect will Jackson have on the rest of the receivers?
- April 19: How much better will the pass rush be with Jason Hatcher?
- April 20: Who will replace London Fletcher at inside linebacker?
- April 22: Who will return punts and kickoffs?
- April 22: Will special teams improve?
- April 23: Who will assume London Fletcher’s leadership role?
- Yesterday: Is there enough depth on the offensive line?
- Today: Is David Amerson ready to start?
- Tomorrow: Who will start at safety?