The NFL is a league where players have to make the most of opportunities when they’re presented. The Washington Redskins are no exception in that regard. They’ll have three rookies that will play pivotal roles when they face the Philadelphia Eagles to open the 2013 NFL season on “Monday Night Football”.
Rookie Bacarri Rambo (above, left) will start at free safety for Washington. This is a risky proposition, considering that Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly employs a spread offense that focuses on wide receivers stretching the field in the passing game. Philadelphia receivers DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, and Jason Avant will certainly test Rambo’s ability to help out Washington cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson in coverage.
Throwing Rambo into the line of fire is the right move for the Redskins. Washington’s secondary struggled at times last season. No one expects Rambo to be the second coming of Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott; there will be some growing pains for Rambo as he learns on the job. Whether or not he sinks or swims against the Eagles on national television is irrelevant. As long as Rambo gets better as the season progresses, he’ll grow more comfortable in his starting position.
Rookie cornerback David Amerson (above, middle)will get an increased role against Philadelphia’s spread offense. That’s because second year cornerback Richard Crawford was lost for the season after tearing three ligaments in his left knee. Crawford served as Washington’s nickel back last season, which is a role that Amerson will now fill. Amerson had a reputation for making big plays in college. He’ll be called upon in an effort to combat the Eagles’ spread offense.
Crawford’s injury also provided an opportunity for Redskins’ rookie running back Chris Thompson, who was in danger of not making the roster due to preseason fumbling. Crawford served as Washington’s punt returner last season. Thompson returned a punt for a touchdown during the preseason, proving his value to the team.
Thompson will now get the opportunity to return punts and kickoffs for Washington. While one preseason punt return is a small sample size to judge a punt returner, Thompson’s touchdown return was a rare occurrence for the Redskins. Washington hopes that Thompson will provide an upgrade to the team’s unspectacular return game from a year ago.
Washington’s fortunes won’t ride on the play of Rambo, Amerson, and Thompson. However, they must provide some clarity in their respective roles for the Redskins to become successful in 2013. If they can provide that clarity with solid, disciplined play against Philadelphia, the Redskins will become a force to be reckoned with in 2013.