Last year the Redskins were carried on their postseason run due to the play. Now obviously everyone expected 1st rounder Robert Griffin III to play and have a significant role. The play of Kirk Cousins in relief of Griffin and the rushing ability of Alfred Morris also had a significant impact on the Redskins. Morris in particular was a surprise, as the 6th round rookie set the Redskins rushing record and finished 2nd in the league in rushing yards. This year the Redskins were without a first round pick so expectations were muted, but the team was still set to play their 2nd and 6th rounders in starting roles (a 3rd corner is basically a starter), and carve out niches for their 3rd and two 5th round picks. Through four games the results haven’t been great and we could start to see less and less of the rookies. Here is each players outlook for the rest of the year:
-Amerson had a big pick 6 interception last week against the Raiders which helped turn the tide to the Redskins. He’s made a few other plays so far, but for the most part we’ve seen more negatives with Amerson than positives. Amerson leads the league among all corners with at least 25% of their team’s defensive snaps, with allowing a ridiculous 27.5 yards per catch. That high number has him 5th in the league for total yards allowed, despite allowing the fewest number of catches of any of the top 25 corners. Yards after the catch have been the biggest problem for him, as he’s allowing 12 yards per catch.
While he’s a rookie and you have to live with some rookie mistakes the Redskins should try to limit him more going forward. In the first three games he played most (if not all) the game, due to the offenses they played, but against the Raiders he played in less than 50% of the game and that is even with both Hall and Wilson missing snaps due to being banged up. I don’t think he’ll “lose” his third corner job any time soon, but he could see E.J. Biggers take some snaps from him, and what’s even more likely is that the Redskins play more of a base defense. Against some teams like the Broncos that probably won’t occur, but you could see the Redskins not using three corners as often as maybe they typically would. Overall Amerson should still see 35-50% of the snaps in most games, but they probably aren’t in a rush to expand his role.
-Reed has been the big star so far among the Redskins rookies and is the one who is likely to see his playing time increase going forward. Now he’s dealing with a quad injury that kept him out of the Raiders game, but assuming he’s healthy to return, Reed should quickly become the Redskins starting tight end. He’s got 13 catches for 106 yards and 1 TD, and is 2nd on the team in tight end snaps, despite missing that game.
While his play alone would warrant a bigger role, Reed will likely be relied upon in the coming weeks. Fred Davis has been dealing with a high ankle sprain, and that is on top of his slow return from his Achilles injury last year. How much he can play and produce is very much in question for probably at least the next month. Logan Paulsen sprained his knee against the Raiders and will likely need to miss the next couple of weeks as well. With those two injuries, if Reed is healthy he’s going to be heavy relied upon going forward. Not only should his snap count increase, but expect his production to jump as Robert Griffin III becomes more comfortable with him.
-A big 4th preseason game sealed Thompson’s roster spot and also gave the Redskins some reason to try him out as the return man. After four games the results have been poor all around for Thompson. He’s made numerous bad decisions on returns, both in fielding punts and on when to take it out of the end zone. While he’s yet to fumble, it seems like only a matter of time considering some of the times he chooses to field it. Thompson just isn’t having productive returns to come close to warrant the risk he’s been posing back there and the field position he’s costing the Redskins. He’s already been replaced somewhat as the kick returner, and it makes zero sense to keep a roster spot open for a poor punt returner. Until Thompson shows he can be either a top returner or have some offensive function, it’s basically impossible to justify a roster spot for him.
-Jenkins was brought in to be a back-up pass rusher, but so far this year he hasn’t gotten many opportunities to showcase his skills. When he has been been on the field, he’s yet to really produce and even committed a penalty. He’s dealt with a nagging injury and hasn’t been an option the last two weeks. Now with Rob Jackson off suspension, and Daryl Tapp playing well in reserve, it is going to be really tough for Jenkins to be even active on game days. I think the Redskins may still believe in his future, but don’t believe he’s set to make an impact this year. Of the remaining 12 games I would be shocked if Jenkins is active for more than 4 of them, and when he does dress he is doubtful to get many snaps outside of special teams.
-Rambo was a starter at the beginning of the season, but after two games where he was caught out of place and missing tackles he was benched. Not only did he lose his starting job, but Rambo hasn’t played a defensive snap since, and didn’t even play special teams this past week. Rambo is not only going to have a problem getting his starting job back, but he is in danger of not even being active on game days. If the team isn’t even going to let him see the field for special teams or any defensive snaps, it is really tough to justify an active roster spot.
It’s a long season and Rambo can fight his way back into the mix (though getting back the starting role may be a push), but it does look like he is pretty well buried on the roster right now. What was most telling was perhaps Coach Mike Shanahan’s comments after the Lions game, when asked about Rambo he didn’t resort to typical coachspeak and called him out a little bit. That is very atypical for Mike Shanahan and it clearly looks like Rambo is on the outside looking in. I expect we may see him back on special teams most weeks, and getting very limited playing time by the end of the season.