Washington Redskins Should Start Two Rookies in Secondary

By Greg Bradshaw
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve written several articles excoriating the Washington Redskins‘ defense, specifically the Redskins’ secondary. Rookies David Amerson and Bacarri Rambo saw a lot of playing time during Washington’s previous preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Amerson and Rambo haven’t exactly taken the NFL by storm, committing a few errors that have resulted in big plays for their preseason opponents.

That’s to be expected, considering that they’re rookies trying to adjust to life in the NFL. With that said, Amerson and Rambo should be the starting right cornerback and free safety, respectively, when Week 1 arrives.

Asking Amerson and Rambo to hold their own against the passing offenses of their NFC East rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, is asking a lot. In addition to those divisional contests, Washington’s 2013 schedule features a slate of tough games with the San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos.

Each of the aforementioned non-divisional teams feature a franchise quarterback with either elite or efficient wide receivers. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers and incomparable Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning are a virtual murderer’s row of opponents for any team to face. Needless to say, Washington’s defense as a whole will have their work cut out for them in 2013.

Still, naming Amerson and Rambo opening day starters is just what the Redskins need. The current NFL trend is to start rookies immediately in the hope that they catch on fast. Simply put, it would be best for Washington to throw the rookies in the proverbial deep end of the pool and hope they swim instead of sink. There’s no shame in Amerson and Rambo being picked apart by Kaepernick, Ryan, Rodgers or Manning during the regular season. Those elite quarterbacks have picked apart many defenses in their respective careers. Therefore, it’s expected that Amerson and Rambo will go through some growing pains as regular season starters.

Starting the two would be a far cry from previous Redskins’ regimes that built their roster via trades and free agent signings that were less-than-stellar transactions. If Amerson and Rambo prove to be capable rookie starters, though, Washington may have half of their starting secondary for the next 10 years. If not, the Redskins might trade them in a few years in exchange for low draft picks.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Amerson and Rambo should be named opening day starters against the Eagles. Washington’s pass defense couldn’t possibly get any worse than it was in 2012, when it ranked 30th.  Just let Amerson and Rambo learn on the job, with the hope that they can someday become staples in the Redskins’ secondary for years to come.

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