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Haslett press conference highlights: Excitement over the rookies


Redskins Camp Football

Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett spoke to the media Wednesday about the three rookie defensive backs and what to expect at safety. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Evan Vucci

Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time this offseason. The main topic: the three rookie defensive backs and what to expect at safety. Here are some highlights:

Haslett on:

The rookie defensive backs: “I’ll start with David [Amerson]. He’s a guy that has great ball skills, great length, good speed. He has the ability to play man or zone. That’s probably the biggest thing is, he’s a playmaker. Phillip is the same thing. He has great ball skills. He has the ability to come up with the big play, key interceptions. Phillip has good size, good enough speed. He likes football, understands football and studies football. And Bacarri is a good athlete and also has good ball skills and also has a chance to make a lot of plays for you. That’s what wins in the league. Last year we had 31 turnovers, which is really good but we had a chance to pick up three guys that can add to those totals through interceptions.”

Any surprises by David Amerson: “I don’t think anything is a surprise He’s very knowledgeable and understands the game. He’s a guy that spends a lot of time in the office. I like what I’ve seen. He’ll be a good player.”

Amerson’s struggles last season: “He got surprised the first game of the year. Tennessee comes out with two wideouts, one a junior college transfer and he didn’t know who he was. He got beat with a double move a couple times, had some bad body language and struggled the first half of the season. After that he settled in and played like he did his sophomore year. The maturity thing. He’s a young guy. But when you watch him move and close on things, everything is smooth and effortless. It’s the ball skills and everything that comes with it.”

How much the rookie DBs can help the defense: “First of all, can you play with three rookies at one time? I don’t know if that’s going to happen. We’ll see. But we’ll play the best players. And over time all three of those guys will be on the field at some point. I don’t know when that’s going to be.”

The quest to find starting safeties: “Brandon [Meriweather] hasn’t come back yet and I’m sure he’ll be in that mix. But so far between him and Reed [Doughty] does a good job in situations and Jordan [Pugh] did a good job in certain situations. We’ll put the best guys on the field or a combination of safeties until they’re ready to play.”

Rookie safeties transition: “One, the complexity of the defense, the number of defenses we have including zone and blitzes. It’s not the easiest defense to learn and they have to learn strong and free. They can’t just play one position. It will take reps, it will take time on the grass but as they get more time in camp and get more reps it will start to shine.”

If one of the rookie safeties could realistically start: “Yeah I really do think one of them will be on the grass, not sure which one. But they’ll all help us. I just don’t know to what extent yet.”

Concerns over Adam Carriker’s availability: “I don’t know where Adam stands. You’ll have to get with Mike on that one. But just being around and knowing how competitive Adam is, he’ll be back at some point. What point that is, I don’t know. I know he’s had a couple surgeries on his leg. I see him in there every day working. He’s one of the hardest working guys we have on the team. You don’t discount anyone, but the one you don’t want to say, ‘This guy won’t make it back,’ is Adam. Adam will try to find a way to make it back. When that will be I don’t know.”

Jarvis Jenkins’ first step: “I think Jarvis has looked better than he did his first year. He understands the defense, he has the brace off now. He’s running around. You can tell he feels more comfortable. I think he’ll make a lot more plays this year than last year.”

Brian Orakpo: “What I see right now, he looks great. He’s probably moving as well as he’s ever moved. He looks in great shape. The strength, all of that is there. The guy looks awesome.”

Brandon Jenkins: “He has good rush ability. He’s another guy if you go back and look at stats, you have to look at production. He was projected as a first round pick at one point. He’s a guy you can bring in the mix. I don’t think you can have enough pass rushers. Last year we lose Rak. So far what I see, he’s another guy who will be a good player down the road.”

Finding a way to get Rob Jackson, Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo on the field at the same time: “Yeah I don’t think that’s a problem. The question is, can you get four of those guys on the field at the same time [including rookie Brandon Jenkins]. If there’s a way to get everyone on the field we’ll find a way.”

E.J. Biggers: “He’s a good player. He understands the game, studies the game, has good quickness and a good feel for it. He knows when to blitz and how to hide behind linemen. When I’ve seen him without pads on I’ve been impressed.”

Slot corner: “We played Biggers there, [Richard] Crawford there. Josh [Wilson] is not practicing. We limited D. Hall a little bit to the outside. We’ve got some guys that can do it this year. Last year we only had one or two guys.”

Tanard Jackson: “To be honest with you, until you brought it up I haven’t thought about it. With Tanard back there that’s another bonus. He’s a heck of a player. I don’t know where that stands, but we’d welcome him back with open arms.”