- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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RICHMOND, Va. – The assignment might not last long. That’s OK for three Washington Redskins corners, because it will still provide them with what they want: an opportunity.
All three will try to replace Bashaud Breeland as the slot corner for the next month as well as the season opener vs. the Miami Dolphins. Breeland is sidelined four to six weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee. The NFL also suspended him for the season opener.
Rogers will get the first chance with Mitchel and Jarrett both rookies -- and Jarrett having to move over from safety. Rogers’ experience shows, as he played in the nickel with Buffalo from 2011-13. He also started five games as a replacement in 2013 but was cut shortly thereafter. The Bills did not think he was big enough or strong enough to play outside. He also spent one game with Houston in 2013 but has not appeared in an NFL game since.
“I started my career off in the nickel, so it’s refreshing going back,” Rogers said.
The Redskins just need him to be smart enough to handle inside duties. Slot corners must be able to handle a wider variety of route options by the receiver, as well as play run support and work more in concert with linebackers.
“Ask any guy who has played the slot, it’s different,” Rogers said. “There are tricks to the trade you need to know playing in there. You got to have savvy players because a lot of teams have a good slot guy. The more reps and experience you get, you learn what quarterbacks try to do to nickel guys.”
Mitchel injured his right shoulder Saturday, and it remains uncertain how much time he’ll miss, if any. Like Jarrett, he’s learning the pro game. However, he at least played in the slot at Arkansas -- he was better there than on the outside.
For Jarrett, it requires him to learn a spot he never played in a game at Virginia Tech. But Jarrett said he did practice there quite a bit. He said the coaches at Virginia Tech wanted the corners to know how to play safety and vice versa -- just in case.
The reality is that Rogers has an edge just because of his experience. He also looked solid in that role in the spring. But for someone such as Jarrett, even if he doesn’t end up playing the position, if he shows he can handle it in a pinch, his odds of making the 53-man roster increase.
And Jarrett said his skills can translate to success in the slot.
“My knowledge of the game, that definitely helps,” Jarrett said. “I feel I have the man skills to do it, and it’s something I’ve done. Who I’m surrounded by, with the veterans and the coaching will help me enough to go out there and perform.”