When David Amerson entered the game for the Redskins Sunday against the Dolphins, Miami QB Ryan Tannehill targeted the corner repeatedly. Amerson's performance left a lot to be desired, and the Dolphins promptly scored as the 'Skins corner repeatedly struggled covering his man.
With Bashaud Breeland suspended for Week 1, Washington had no choice but to turn to Amerson when starting cornerback DeAngelo Hall went down. Good news for Joe Barry's defense was that Hall came back for the 'Skins, but with the additional loss of Duke Ihenacho, Amerson continued to see the field.
Looking ahead, Ihenacho's extended injury absence combined with another suspension threatens the Washington secondary against the St. Louis Rams. Free agent acquisition CB Chris Culliver will miss this week's game for Washington, and in turn, more might be needed from Amerson. Much of that depends on the status of Breeland, who suffered an injury in the preseason before sitting out last week with the suspension.
"We’ve got to get him a good week of practice," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Monday of Breeland. "He understands the defense. He feels good about where he is mentally. Just a matter of going out there and playing and running and staying in the game."
Last season as a rookie, Breeland impressed. The thought was pairing the second-year man out of Clemson with the veteran Culliver would give the Redskins a strong presence on the outside, and Hall could work in as a nickel corner. Plans don't always work, obviously, and through two weeks, the Redskins will not be able to deploy Breeland and Culliver at the same time. Still, Gruden expects a lot from Breeland.
"We have high expectations for Bree. He’s a smart kid and he will compete. Only time will tell if he’s rusty or not," Gruden said.
Rust could be an issue, as Breeland sustained a knee injury in training camp and was unable to play until the fourth preseason game.
"I think he was rusty in that last preseason game, that’s why he played," Gruden said. "He had a couple plays that he did look rusty."
The Redskins better hope the speed of live football knocks off the rust for Breeland, because the Rams speed might. WR Tavon Austin might be one of the fastest players in the NFL, and QB Nick Foles has the arm to go deep. Without Ihenacho at safety, the 'Skins are already undermanned, and with Culliver out for the week, Washington needs Breeland. Or it could mean more Amerson, and as Miami showed, that's not good news for the 'Skins defense.
Will Breeland be ready? Is it asking too much to start in your first week back? Let us know what you think in the comments.