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Need to Know: 5 Redskins who could have breakout 2014 seasons

Jun 2, 2014, 5:20 AM EST

Kerrigan-vs-Lions

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, June 2, 15 days before the start of minicamp.

Nickel coverage

Breakout players can either be relative unkowns who all of a sudden have a standout year or they can be solid performers who blossom to play at a Pro Bowl level. Here are five 2014 breakout candidates for the Redskins, some from both categories.

LB Ryan Kerrigan—He’s been an eight-sack per year player with a total of two pick sixes and 10 forced fumbles in his three seasons. If Jim Haslett’s scheme does turn out to be more aggressive than it was under Mike Shanahan it’s not hard to see Kerrigan posting double digit sacks with half a dozen forced fumbles and a few touchdowns. Last year only Tamba Hali of the Chiefs had 10 or more sacks, an interception and scored two or more touchdowns (he had three). That would be some pretty good company for Kerrigan.

TE Jordan Reed—This is not a difficult pick. Last year he was on pace to catch over 70 passes for 800 yards before his season ended early with a concussion. With a year under his belt, a likely improved QB pulling the trigger in a healthy and prepared Robert Griffin III, and a head coach who knows how to utilize the tight end position Reed could well surpass last year’s “on pace” numbers in 2014.

DL Chris Baker—It’s hard for a 3-4 defensive lineman to break out since if they’re doing their jobs you don’t hear much about them. But with his size and athletic ability, Baker could rack up some sacks and make his presence felt on the field.

CB David Amerson—If Baker and Kerrigan are having breakout seasons and getting to the quarterback, a lot of opponents’ passes could end up in the arms of Amerson. It’s unlikely that he’ll become a shutdown corner but his ballhawking ability could get him more than his share of interceptions. If he can get over half a dozen he could lead the league, an accomplishment that usually earns Pro Bowl consideration.

OT Trent Williams—He’s already pretty well regarded with Pro Bowl selections in each of the past two years. His reputation could grow this year if Jay Gruden’s offense employs a hybrid of power running and zone blocking. This will give Williams a chance to show off his versatility and possibly advance from Pro Bowl to All-Pro.

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Timeline

—It’s been 155 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 97 days until they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Minicamp starts 15; Training camp 52; Redskins @ Eagles 111

In case you missed it

  1. murphsman - Jun 2, 2014 at 6:22 AM

    How can Williams “break out” when he’s already considered one of the best in the league?

    • Rich Tandler - Jun 2, 2014 at 6:30 AM

      He’s still considered to be a step behind players like Joe Thomas, Ryan Clady, Duane Brown, and a few others. He wasn’t first- or second-team All-Pro. As noted in the article, I think he could take that next step this year. I would call that a breakout, you can call it whatever you want to.

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      • jayovalentine - Jun 2, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        Redskins players are always over looked. Fletcher is a prime example.

  2. brianjfrost06 - Jun 2, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    Tandler,

    Good read, I especially like the Baker pick. He has quietly over the past few years increased his playing time and been productive while doing so. With the addition of Hatcher and the likes of Bowen , Coefiled and Jenkins he does not get much press. I think we will see him post carrer numbers this year not only in sacks but qb pressures and tackles for losses. look forward to reading more of your articles and catching your cameos on redskin nation. HTTR!!!

    • C. Cowboykilla - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      Baker is a massive man and surprisingly very quick. With the right training on hand placement this article could be very correct on this one. Good read I agree.

  3. C. Cowboykilla - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    I would take out Silverback Williams and put in Lichensteiger. Now he’s moving back to his natural position(center) I see him having a breakout season. I think if he can avoid injury bug he may end the season as one of the best centers in the league. Keep a close eye on him.

    • brianjfrost06 - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      I couldnt agree more with him going back to his naturaul position we should see at minimum an increase in value of his play. He was at times man handled last year which leaves a little concern that 3-4 teams with hulking nose tackles might push him off the ball. The last thing you want is him to get blown off the ball at the snap while Griffin is under center him step on his foot and cause a freak injury. But still if he can perform to his 2012 standards we should see and upgrade at center.

      • greed - Jun 2, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        i would prefer litch out the startinglineup period , i agree with you too many times he got manhandled by dtackles and thats without him having to snap the ball would like to see leribus or long get that center spot guys who have natural girth

  4. CavemanCatching - Jun 2, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    I like it, Rich! I know you could only keep it to five choices. But, another who could have a breakout year may be Brandon Meriweather. With an improved pass rush and D-line, a better Free Safety in Ryan Clark playing across from him, and a return to his more natural Strong Safety position, he could become the player we saw in that spectacular half of play against Philly in 2012.

    • bowlregard - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:46 AM

      Also another year removed from his injury.

  5. kenlinkins - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    Rich: While I hope the Redskins have a few breakout players this year, my hope is that training camp proves to be a true competition fest in 2014. If the Redskins new coaching staff find / develop a few guys for Special Teams and Quality back ups from some of the remaining draft picks of 2011, 2012 and 2013 it would go a long way towards becoming a top 10 team in the NFL. Under development of talent over the years is a hot button issues with me. While everyone on your list has room for improvement and could move from solid starter to star player, I would like to see guys like Rambo, Jenkins (either one) Minnifield, Crawford, Compton (either one), Gettis, LeRibues, and K. Robinson, have breakout years by becoming solid players pushing for playing time (even on Special Teams). If the new coaching staff can reclaim some of this talent and gain the pay off for the draft day move made to pick them, it would cut the time required to rebuild the team. On the other hand, if they can not move up, then move them out. I know you do not agree that the Redskins have “set the tone” by cutting Gumbs and Gettis, but I still do and hope I am right. Lots of changes coming to Redskins Park this year and I hope development of talent and cutting deadwood early is at the top of the list.

    • bowlregard - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:50 AM

      Jarvis Jenkins is another one who might benefit being another year removed from his injury. He looked so promising his rookie year.

    • shermanp79 - Jun 6, 2014 at 10:09 AM

      Great points!! I also hope Jenkins is in there Shanahan did such a poor job of getting the young guys on the field and developing them. Yes, injuries were partly to blame but most was on him. Down the stretch he claimed he would “do what is best for the organization long term”, that is not what he did. The perfect example was the O line. Defenses were blowing up the middle with ease and he never changed one position to play all the young guys. That would have helped the organization. He was more concerned trying to prove the issues were RG3 and believed Cousins would show it! He didn’t why??? The line and vanilla play calling, even with Cousins being a more comfortable pocket passer. His ego and inability to be flexible hurt this team. He didn’t change game plans week to week, he believed his “system” was good enough…..well no wonder this team barely won. The players won in spite of him in 2012. He gave up on them. How many times did we say “we could have won”? Too many times. He did put in the “pistol” which worked but long term it hurt RG3 and his development. Once he got hurt the recovery was the focus. RG3 had some blame but you can clearly see he is a different guy and feels freed. That says so much about the relationship. Clearly the Shanahans didn’t listen to their QB on so much but most of all what he wanted to be as a QB. It will be interesting to watch Cle and Kyle. The “pistol” won’t work as the main offense. The Defenses will pound the QB and it will be less effective.

  6. skinsdawg - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    Excellent read…. Agrred on that. I’d also be in the camp to disagree on Trent Williams. Last ranking I saw (I think it was Pro Football Weekly…. but not positive of it) had Trent Williams #1. Joe Thomas #2. I would have rather seen another candidate get that nod….. a guy that could really break out. Maybe Keenan Robinson, or Phillip Thomas. Maybe Seastrunk or Long. ?? But I understand the point Rich is making. Good stuff.

    I have a question about Chris Baker. I’m keenly interested in seeing how he has progressed, and what a weapon he (could) become, given the idea that Haslett might turn up the heat this year. Jury’s still out on that one. But anyway, I like Baker a lot. Here’s my Q…. I had mostly heard, in his early days, that he would turn out to be our NT of the future. A lot of talk that even Cofield would move over to End….. making him more dangerous to rush a bit more. And that Baker’s size and strength would allow him to make a really good, and dangerous NT. His athleticism could even give him a chance to creat serious problems form the NT spot- and on opposing QBs. Is that still in play? Or now are we strictly talking about him at End? All I’ve heard more recently, is the (3-4) DE. What’s up?

    • Rich Tandler - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:48 AM

      Talk of Baker taking over at NT has come almost exclusively from fans or “analysts” who don’t really know what they’re talking about. Cofield is the starting NT and he will remain there. Baker will rotate in at NT and play some end as well.

  7. skinsdawg - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    A few others I really like to break loose: Richard Crawford. Cody Hoffman. Ryan Grant. Seastrunk & Long on Off- K Robinson & P Thomas on Def (as I mentioned above). Murphy (I honestly think if he’s as good as they seem to think…. that he’s Rak’s replacement). Jordan Reed already broke out. But if he stays healthy…. he’s a Pro-Bwlr

  8. murphsman - Jun 4, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Hey Rich, what’s the difference between a Pro Bowler and an All-Proer?

    • Rich Tandler - Jun 6, 2014 at 10:00 AM

      A first team All-Pro is picked by the AP, one player at each position. Pro Bowl is several at each position plus injury replacements, etc.

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  9. shermanp79 - Jun 6, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    I like them all!!! I hope they all come true, if so this team is much improved and competing for a Division title and Playoff spot!! HTTR!!!

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