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Redskins Corners Prepare For Physical Test

It's time for David Amerson and Bashaud Breeland to get physical.

Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Washington Redskins' young defensive backs will go toe-to-toe with two of the games more physical receivers in the league in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans.

Evans, the seventh-overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, leads the Buccaneers in receiving yards (585), average yards per catch (15.0), touchdown receptions (5) and has 13 grabs for at least 20 yards. He may be a rookie, but head coach Lovie Smith said he's grown up fast.

"I know he's young, I know he's a rookie and he's made rookie mistakes through the year," Smith said in a conference call with the D.C. media on Wednesday. "It's just [he's] becoming a force, somebody we can really rely on but hasn't been playing like a rookie lately."

After totaling 14 receptions for 149 total yards and three scores the past two games, Evans is just one 100-plus-yard and one scoring effort away from becoming the first rookie receiver since Randy Moss in 1998 to record those numbers three games in a row.

While on one side there's youth, the other side features experience with 10-year veteran Vincent Jackson. With 40 receptions for 518 yards, Jackson is halfway to his fourth-consecutive season with at least 1,000 yards receiving.

With talent on either side of the field, the Buccaneers' receiving tandem has caught the eye of defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.

"I'm really impressed with them," Haslett said. "I think they're good football players. They go up and make all the catches. I'm really impressed with what they're doing."

One thing that can make any receiver effective is their size. With both receivers standing tall at 6-foot-5 and weighing at least 230 pounds, their physical makeup can make them difficult to stop at times.

"Evans, Jackson, both of them are big bodied, 6-5 guys that can go up and take it out of the air," Haslett said. "But I think it'll be a good challenge for our two corners."

Already this season, Amerson and Breeland have shown the NFL what they're capable of. In the Redskins' Monday Night Football victory over the Dallas Cowboys, the duo had their coming out parties, frustrating the Cowboys' receivers all game long.

With four pass deflections, including two back-to-back in the end zone, in that game, Breeland played his best game to date and is ready to get tough at the point of attack on Sunday.


"You just got to be physical with them and just find the ball," the Redskins' 2014 fourth-round selection said. "When it's time to make a play on the ball, you got to make it and you got to attack it just like they're going to attack it."

Head coach Jay Gruden is just as anxious to see how his corners play on Sunday, and admitted that it was matchups like these that drove the Redskins to picking both players.

"It's a great test for them," Gruden said. "Luckily both our DBs are big and physical. You know that's why we liked them both … bigger type corners to go against the bigger type receivers."

Only giving up 222.9 yards passing per game, the Redskins rank sixth in the NFL pass defense. With the young defensive backs only getting stronger as the season wears on, it's a unit that is quickly becoming one of the team's strengths.

On Sunday, Washington will be faced with the challenge of stopping another set of talented receivers. Haslett believes, though, that they're up for the task and that it will be one of the matchups worth watching throughout the game.

"I think both [sets of] guys play that way," he said. "Their receivers play that way and our guys play that way, so it'll be a good one to watch."




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