David Amerson had a tough year in 2014 but new defensive coordinator Joe Barry doesn’t care.
After a promising rookie 2013 season as the nickel corner, Amerson was elevated into a starting role last year. He struggled with both missed assignments and missed tackles. The low point of his season came when he was suspended for the Redskins’ game in San Francisco for being late to a meeting. Instead of making the big leap expected from a second-round draft pick he suffered from a severe sophomore slump.
But Barry, who replaced Jim Haslett after the season ended, is looking at Amerson’s future, not his past.
“One thing that you’re going to get with me, guys, is that I’m a ‘look through the windshield’ guy,” said Barry. “I’m never going to look in the rearview mirror. So, David and every other player, I’ve been around them for two months and that’s what I’m judging everything on. He’s been outstanding in everything that he’s done so far. He’s been here the entire offseason, he’s been great in the meeting room, taking notes and learning it. Again, after five practices, I’m very happy with where he is at.”
Barry has good reason for wanting to keep the focus on the future. His past is dotted with some notable failures, particularly his 2007-2008 stint as the defensive coordinator of the Lions. Detroit was ranked last in total defense both seasons and had the worst season in NFL history, posting an 0-16 mark in 2008. When asked about such issues, he said, “I’m a ‘look forward’ guy.” It makes sense that he would take a similar outlook with the players who were part of a unit that has ranked 30th and 29th in scoring defense the last two seasons.
And Amerson should realize that the notion of forgetting about the past cuts both ways. Barry, along with Jay Gruden and Scot McCloughan, don’t care that he was a second-round draft pick or that he had a promising rookie year. Both of those came under the old coach, Mike Shanahan, and the ex-coordinator, Haslett. He will have to make it or not on his merits starting now.