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Need to Know: Should the Redskins move David Amerson to safety?

Jan 13, 2015, 5:11 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 13, 107 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock for the first round of the NFL draft.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question comes from thankslittlebrandonbanks in the comments section right here on Real Redskins.

Is Ammerson a possible candidate to play free safety? His coverage off the line always seems much softer than Breeland’s. I understand you have to have a better option at corner in order to move him, but let’s assume that option is found either in FA or draft and free safety is still not addressed. He was known as a ball hawk coming out of college. Is this even a remote possibility? Thanks.

Moving David Amerson out of his cornerback spot and into the safety is not, as far as I know, something that has been discussed by the Redskins coaching staff. It’s more something that has been tossed around in the media and by fans. But that doesn’t mean the decision makers won’t talk about it as they enter the offseason with the two 2014 starters, Brandon Meriweather and Ryan Clark, unlikely to return.

At 6-1, 205 Amerson has the size to handle the safety position. As noted, he has skills as a ballhawk at evidenced by leading the nation in interceptions as a sophomore. (Although it’s fair to ask where those skills were this past season when he couldn’t manage to corral a single interception despite playing almost every defensive snap.) He tackles reasonably well. So the short answer is, yes, he can play safety. You could probably line him up there when OTAs start in May and he would do a decent job come September.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. A hole would be created at cornerback. I’m not completely confident that DeAngelo Hall will be ready to go in September after suffering two tears of his Achilles tendon. That’s a tough rehab. So, if Hall can’t go, who lines up at corner opposite Bashaud Breeland? And even if he can, where’s your depth?

The bottom line is that the Redskins just might have to get creative to fill the safety hole. The position is hard to fill; just look around the NFC East. Four teams and all four of them will have safety on their list of offseason needs along with at least half of the other teams in the NFL. Any quality free agents on the market will be expensive and gone fast.

I don’t think Amerson to safety is in the cards but the Redskins might have to do something like that to upgrade the play at safety to competent.


—It’s been 16 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 243 days until they play another one

Days until: NFL free agency starts 56; 2015 NFL Draft 107

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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  1. Stephfan - Jan 13, 2015 at 6:05 AM

    I agree with you rich.. Amerson should stay at corner. They need to draft Collins and see if Thomas will pan out or possibly move him to free safty… I think they should also sign a corner, and possible rebuild the Oline in free agency… Then draft some core Oline and let them start in the next year or two. Also pick up some dline depth in the draft.. I believe the need at safty is more pressing than dline? Your thoughts

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 13, 2015 at 6:52 AM

      I think they should draft their highest graded player when their pick comes up. That is unlikely to be Landon Collins.

      > > >

      • kenlinkins - Jan 13, 2015 at 7:34 AM

        The position of greatest need for the Redskins is “Playmaker”! Other than DJax & Way, the Redskins have none on the roster.

      • Stephfan - Jan 13, 2015 at 8:52 AM

        Who do u think is rich

        • theismann7 - Jan 13, 2015 at 6:10 PM

          I’ll answer for Rich….he/you/we will not know until the 5th pick in the draft rolls around…no one but God himself knows the first 4 picks.

      • me4gm - Jan 19, 2015 at 8:12 PM

        2 Achilles is tough considering how recent the last one was. But it is an injury that usually results in complete recovery. DHall is a great open field tackler and a ballhawk. Sounds like a good safety at a good price to me

    • Joe Greene - Jan 14, 2015 at 3:54 AM

      Collins can’t cover. The last thing we need is another S that can’t cover.

  2. jayrock59 - Jan 13, 2015 at 7:18 AM

    What’s your thoughts on this Duke Nacho dude? Sorry don’t know his last name. I was kinda stoked to see his signing last year. Unfortunately he got hurt and we never got a good look at him but film on him shows he strong in the box, a real good tackler, and good against the run. He could be the skins strong safety and then all they would need is a good free safety for ball hawking.

  3. kenlinkins - Jan 13, 2015 at 7:56 AM

    I am not sure if David Amerson had the sophomore jinx in 2014 but he failed to continue the development at CB he showed in 2013. Not knowing what assignments the DC had Amerson in or knowing what the DB coach had Amerson working on, but it is clear that way too many times Amerson seemed lost, turned around and at times showed “fear” in his lack of coverage (playing way off WR’s and not breaking on the ball). When a good player starts to look lost (or well beaten) in most cases it is due to being “shocked” at something his man is doing and not being ready for it. My guess would be that Amerson is one of the guys on the list that require more film study time instead of trying to beat the traffic by getting out the door at Redskins park before 4PM. With that in mind it will not matter where Amerson plays as IMO unless he takes the time to learn / study he will never progress into the playmaker the Redskins require!

  4. wonderfulfaison - Jan 13, 2015 at 8:02 AM

    Some people have suggested that should Mariotta fall to 5, we should trade the pick to Philly, move down to 20 and pick up an extra second and 4th round pick. While I do not believe the Washington will take a QB in the first round, I do not believe we should trade out of the first 15 picks. What do you think of the possibility of this trade scenario?

    • mr.moneylover - Jan 13, 2015 at 8:22 AM

      Scot said all options are open so thats a possibility…if the redskins draft smart they can get players who can come in and play next year ..alot of starting job is up in the air especially on defense

    • toothcoster - Jan 13, 2015 at 8:30 AM

      Skins can move back half as far and still get extra 2 round pick. Are you a phillips fan? Because that was one stupid post by a redskins fan. Get your head out if your arse.

      • toothcoster - Jan 13, 2015 at 8:32 AM

        Oh yea Tandler is a tool!!!!

        • Penz - Jan 13, 2015 at 7:51 PM

          The only tool around here seems to be you. Go back to the cowboys articles where you belong, moron.

    • O - Jan 13, 2015 at 8:53 AM

      It’s going to cost a lot more than a 1,2, and a 2 to move from 20 to 5. That’s going to require multiple 1s and 2s. Anyway still not a good idea to trade within the division

    • celticsforever - Jan 13, 2015 at 9:09 AM

      If they traded from 5 to 20, they better get more than a 2 and a 4 !!!!! That trade should get 2,4 and next years 1 and 2.

    • bowlregard - Jan 13, 2015 at 9:22 AM

      I live in the Philly area. The radio is full of talk about how the Eagles might land Mariota. They talk about trading three #1s plus Fletcher Cox to move up to the top spot. If Mariota falls to #5, perhaps the Skins would be interested in obtaining Fletcher Cox along with the Eagles top pick, and maybe a little more. After Kelly gushed about the QB last night the Skins should charge a premium.

      • renhoekk2 - Jan 13, 2015 at 12:32 PM

        I think if Mariota somehow falls to 5 McCloughan would do the trade. I think he looks at the roster and sees how much is needed. Wanting to build in the draft there is no way he would pass up all of those picks as well as a young and talented player like Cox who could start immediately.

      • renhoekk2 - Jan 13, 2015 at 1:30 PM

        Another thing. With the Jets sitting right behind the Skins and with a new GM and coach in NY, there is no way Mariotta slips past them. And the Eagles know it. They need a QB and the new GM and coach will want to start off with their own guy. Not the struggling QB from the last guys who were in town. I think the Skins could get a a premium for the pick from Philly. He’s tailor made for their offense and Chip’s in love with the guy.

      • wonderfulfaison - Jan 13, 2015 at 11:08 PM

        If the Eagles offer 3 #1’s and Fletcher Cox, McCloughan would be stupid NOT to take that deal. This man is NOT stupid.

    • brucealmty - Jan 13, 2015 at 10:23 AM

      Unless there is a real difference maker at 5, I’m all in favor of trading back if available to acquire picks.

  5. mr.moneylover - Jan 13, 2015 at 8:12 AM

    David amerson had the biggest mouth coming into the season but end up being one of the biggest disappointments he didnt show no fight in him this season…and putting players at a postion they not comfortable has been the problem for years look at trent Williams he stayed in one postion for years and been solid for years if you give a guy multiple positions to force on how can he play at a high level…some players can do it well but the guys we have can….for example helu is a running back theres no way he should be blocking on special teams after he just raned for 20 to 30 yards…im not sold on david amerson he dont like to put his hands on the wide receivers hes not a physical guy thats why he play ofc the ball ten yards and dez bryant made him pay for it…I wouldnt be surprise if scot bring in more CBs but I think they will either be in the late round of the draft or they will be undrafted

    • mr.moneylover - Jan 13, 2015 at 8:16 AM

      I ment the guys we have cant* and the word FOCUS not force….

    • bowlregard - Jan 13, 2015 at 9:24 AM

      I wonder how much blame can be put on the coaching. Few DBs have developed in Washington.

    • Joe Greene - Jan 14, 2015 at 3:57 AM

      You’re criminally stupid with this nonsense that you literally make up out of your own backside.

  6. rcjur - Jan 13, 2015 at 8:45 AM

    Team should keep Amerson at the other safety with Breeland. Hopefully he will have a better year next season. I think Duke Inacho (?), should and will be the starting Strong Safety next season. Team should not bring D. Hall back and they should draft 2 CB’s in this years draft and a Safety in this years draft. With the other 4 picks, Tackle, Guard, LB and DT. IN FA team should add a top veteran CB, Safety and Guard. Amerson is best at CB in my view just needs to play closer to line, which will gain him more confidence and improve his play. Amerson and Breeland should be the starting CB’s for next 3-5 years regardless.

    • rcjur - Jan 13, 2015 at 8:46 AM

      I meant Amerson at the other CB….

      • Stephfan - Jan 13, 2015 at 8:51 AM

        Dhall is already signed

  7. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jan 13, 2015 at 8:52 AM

    Seems to me Amerson’s major mistakes are mental errors.

    Those would hurt just as much at safety. Somebody needs to coach some sense into him.

  8. deepball1 - Jan 13, 2015 at 9:15 AM

    Amerson apparently suffers from laziness, at least that is what I heard from reports. Lack of film preparation and too much party time during the season. If the new Def. Coordinator kicks his butt then things could change otherwise they may cut his lazy behind. He is not acting like one of those “Core Redskins”.

    p.s. there are a ton of cornerbacks in F.A.very good players over 30…but Scott M. is not fond of Free agents and even less fond of 30 plus guys. I would look for him to draft a corner or safety in the 2nd or 3rd round as well as a pass rusher like Shane Ray with the 5th pick.

    • Stephfan - Jan 13, 2015 at 9:28 AM

      Never heard those reports about amerson

    • Joe Greene - Jan 14, 2015 at 3:58 AM

      What reports? The made up ones that you thought of just now to justify your nonsense?

  9. Brad - Jan 13, 2015 at 9:40 AM

    The problem with Amerson is coaching! He bites on a double move almost every time. He tackled really well most of the year. Sure he missed a few, I see some comments about the Dez play in the last game. Everybody misses tackles against Dez! Get some defensive coaches who can coach, and maybe he plays a lot better.

  10. charley42 - Jan 13, 2015 at 9:49 AM

    Young and great CB’s take a few years to develop. Champ Bailey wasn’t that great for his first few years. Keep amerson there. Excellent CB’s can help mediocre safeties.

    As for the safety position, I’m pretty sure they’ll bring back Merriweather just because the options out there aren’t great. Whether he’s a backup or starter is irrelevant.

  11. Troy - Jan 13, 2015 at 10:00 AM

    If you read the scouting report on Amerson coming out of college, the same mistakes that were highlighted are the same mistakes he continues to make every week. I hope D Hall is ready and healed by September.

    Rich, what other CB’s were drafted when Amerson came out and how are they currently performing? For a 2nd round pick, he’s made no progress whatsoever…..

    • Joe Greene - Jan 14, 2015 at 3:59 AM

      Hall is even worse. He’s been making the same dumb mistakes for 7-8 years now.

  12. goback2rfk - Jan 13, 2015 at 11:18 AM

    Amerson at safety!?! HAHAHA! Where do these people come up with this stuff. Amerson has about as much chance at becoming the new safety as RichTandler has becoming the new def. coordinator.
    Amerson is a corner, not a starting shutdown corner, but a corner. And the way the Redskins corners dropped last year, keeping Amerson at corner would be the right thing to do. Maybe he can improve at the position. We have no depth at corner.
    We will find someone to fill that safety spot. It is an important position but one we have not filled in many years.

    • goback2rfk - Jan 13, 2015 at 11:19 AM

      Ut Oh! There has been a Reed Doughty sighting. lol

    • Joe Greene - Jan 14, 2015 at 4:01 AM

      Amerson was projected by many coming out of college as a FS and not a CB because of his deficiencies handling quickness.

  13. Darcy Barchue - Jan 13, 2015 at 11:57 AM

    No Deanglo Hall should! He’s more of a ball hawk and him coming of double Achilles surgery. It would only make sense.

  14. letsusecommonsense23 - Jan 13, 2015 at 12:31 PM

    Rich what I dont think you realize is that Amerson had problems in college in coverage and those problems have carried over to the NFL tenfold. He was rated the worst CB in football this year by PFF. Think about for a second-THE WORST CB IN FOOTBALL. Moving him to safety is worth the experiment because the only other alternative is to cut him. He is a major liability on the field at the CB position and can not be out there if the Redskins are going to improve next year. I’m confident any competent DC will see that and adjust accordingly.

    • letsusecommonsense23 - Jan 13, 2015 at 12:38 PM

      Forgot to add-You say if the Redskins move him to safety who would they use at CB if Hall is not effective and/or on the team. The answer is simple-ANYBODY ELSE. My reasoning is simple-Amerson is worse then any other CB in football this year. Just go down the CB FA list and sign anybody else and that would be better.

      The organization has to make improvements and although I hate giving up on a draft pick year 3 into his career the pick was questionable when made and his problems don’t seem like they can be corrected. Its either he improves as safety or don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  15. kenlinkins - Jan 13, 2015 at 12:51 PM

    For NTK: After watching the Ohio State Buckeyes win the National title by development of players over the season to the point of having a 3rd string QB play and win against some of the best teams in college football (and after watching some really good WR’s grow in the NFL in 2014), I wonder why the Redskins have so much trouble in that department. Is it the Players, Coach’s or both? Is the raw talent lacking or have coach’s in the NFL become so hang up on building their own systems that they have lost the art of moving rookies up into better players? And if a combo what percentage (like 75 players signed / 25 coaching). IMO this lack of development is still a key problem but I have yet to see anyone dig into the reasons for this failure.

  16. shermanp79 - Jan 13, 2015 at 1:23 PM

    I wouldn’t give up on Amerson at CB. He is young and CB is a tough spot to grow into, we have given up on CB in the past. His issue with not getting any takeaways, I believe has to do with him not getting his head around. I saw too many times where he failed to look for the ball. I think coaching can help his issues. Maybe give him some reps at S but I don’t think they give up on him this early. Although it looks like the S position this year is limited. I believe they want some experience back there and can see them bringing in a FA. There are so many young guys available. What do they think of Davis or Robinson, the latter is also a FA. They have a talent guy now, maybe he can find something. They won’t bring in any more old guys. There are plenty of young guys with experience on the market this year. They would of been better letting the young guys play over Clark and Merriweather. I know young players have to beat the older guys out but I believe you play the young guys. You only can get so much from practice. I know Gruden wanted wins, even down the stretch but at that point getting young guys on the field was more beneficial. I think the leave Amerson and look to the Draft, a young FA or both

  17. skinsdiehard - Jan 13, 2015 at 1:34 PM

    A young FS will not start as a rookie and even so would be a liability. Still draft a FS for depth in round 4 or 5. So, I think along with moving Amerson to FS, the draft should play out as follows to address other needs:

    1st – OLB Randy Gregory
    2nd – CB Marcus Peters (plays physical style like Breeland; Hall, Porter & another FA provide depth)
    3rd – OG Lake Tomlinson
    4th – C B.J. Finney
    5th or 6th – FS Justin Cox

    just my opinion….

    • abanig - Jan 13, 2015 at 4:18 PM

      There are a lot of safeties who are drafted in the first few rounds who start as rookies and aren’t liabilities.

      Most certainly they’d be better options at FS than the guys we’ve trotted out there since Sean died

    • Penz - Jan 13, 2015 at 7:56 PM

      No O line until the 3rd? I think most Skins fans would be upset by that.

  18. abanig - Jan 13, 2015 at 4:17 PM

    I’m not against it, but I’d rather draft a free safety. There are plenty of free safety options that will be around in round 2 & 3 for the Redskins to take.

  19. gasngo14 - Jan 13, 2015 at 6:48 PM

    RICH…Do you have any info on our DC job? How can we speculate on defensive players when we don’t have a DC?

  20. murphsman - Jan 14, 2015 at 2:55 AM

    Hey Rich, I read an article saying Fangio might be out. Seeing how they’ve expressed interest in him, do you think Gruden would wait for him to leave SF before deciding on a DC? And any idea of a mutual interest on his part? Archives

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