David Amerson breaks up a pass intended for Baltimore’s Marlon Brown during the preseason. (Nick Wass/Associated Press)

With things a little lopsided at cornerback last season, Redskins coaches gave DeAngelo Hall the task of following the opponent’s No. 1 wide receiver all over the field to ensure Washington always had its best coverage man on that pass catcher the whole game.

Hall had one of his best seasons with four interceptions, three forced fumbles, 78 tackles and 13 pass breakups.

This season, thanks to the development of second-year cornerback David Amerson, who takes over as the starter opposite Hall, coaches believe they will have the luxury of playing Hall and Amerson on set sides. Hall will man the left side, and Amerson the right.

The defensive backs and this setup will receive a stiff first test as Washington opens the season against the Houston Texans and seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson.

In the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Johnson, Houston boasts a big, physical target that has topped the 1,200-yard receiving mark in five of the past six seasons, and the thousand-yard mark in seven of his 11 NFL campaigns.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge, looking forward to getting after it and showing what I can do,” the 6-1, 205-pound Amerson said. “With me being a competitor, you always want to go against the best, whether it’s go against the best guy  dog on dog  so I’m ready for it. It’s a big challenge for me, and a chance to show coaches I’m ready for it, that step, that challenge of guarding the No. 1 guy.”

Hall (5-10, 198) said last season that he relished the role of covering the opponent’s top receiver. However, although he never complained, such a task can prove taxing.

He said this week that he’s happy to see Amerson improve to the point where coaches have enough confidence in him to put him on the top receiver if he lines up opposite the second-year pro. But he’s not disappointed or relieved by the new arrangement.

“It doesn’t matter to me. I just want some balls thrown my way,” the 11th-year veteran said with a smile. “Hopefully we can get some balls thrown and hopefully we can make some plays.”

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

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