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Need to Know: Big Year 3 for Hankerson, Robinson

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Need to Know: Big Year 3 for Hankerson, Robinson

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 29, 10 days before the Redskins open their preseason against the Titans.

Make or break for Hank, Robinson?

The Redskins drafted three wide receivers in 2011. One of them, fifth-round pick Niles Paul, has been converted to tight end. This could be the year we find out what the Redskins get out of the other two.

Mike Shanahan didn’t come out and say that this is a make or break year for Leonard Hankerson (3rd round) and Aldrick Robinson (7th) but he did say that the career trajectory of the two needed to move upward in 2013 if they hope to ever be starting caliber receivers.

“Everybody knows what type of speed he has,” Shanahan said of Robinson. “For him to really step up his game, he’s got to be consistent with the underneath routes as much as the deep routes.”

Robinson hauled in touchdown passes of 49 yards against the Eagles and 68 yards in Dallas but he disappeared from the offense after defenses found out he wasn’t much of a threat if you kept him from going deep.

Hankerson has been catching nearly everything throw to him in OTAs, minicamp and, until yesterday, training camp. But in one drill he smoked Richard Crawford and got open deep. Robert Griffin put the ball right in his hands but Hankerson dropped it.

“[Hankerson’s] got to be more consistent, not only blocking, but catching the short route, the deep route,” said Shanahan. “Like he had today, the one ball he had in his hands and dropped it at the last second. He has to have that concentration level. He has to be mentally tough to make those plays in practice, which will carry over to games.”

The optimal outcome here, of course, would be for Hankerson and Robinson to become consistent, well rounded receivers. The position is expensive to fill in free agency, as the Redskins found out when they signed Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan to contracts worth a combined $53 million last year. And, as Robinson and Hankerson show, many receivers take time to develop and you are never really sure if they ever will.

Consistency is the key. If the Redskins can count on getting the best of Robinson and Hankerson on a regular basis, Shanahan will be happy.

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Today’s schedule (all practices open to the public)

10:00—Walkthrough practice, players available to media coming off the field

After walkthrough (approx. 11:30)—News conference with player TBA

3:20—Full practice, players available to media coming off the field

5:30 (approx.)—Mike Shanahan news conference

DL depth being put to the test

In case you missed it

Days until: Redskins @ Titans preseason opener 10; Final cuts 33; Eagles @ Redskins 42

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Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

The Redskins made a couple of roster moves just before departing for Arizona to play the Cardinals.

They signed cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad and cut offensive tackle Blaine Clausell. The Redskins also waived safety David Bruton Jr. off of injured reserve.

Phillips was the Redskins’ nickel corner for the first three games of the season, and he made four tackles and recovered a fumble. But they moved rookie Kendall Fuller up into the slot corner role in Week 4 and Phillips spent several weeks on the inactive list before being waived on November 12 and added to the practice squad three days later.

The moves became known after Redskins coach Jay Gruden had spoken to the media for the day so we can only speculate as to the reasoning behind them. Actually, the release of Clausell isn’t hard to figure out. He was signed after Trent Williams started his four-game suspension and with Williams set to return on Monday and the other options at backup tackle healthy there was no point in keeping him around.

Phillips is likely going to Arizona as an insurance policy. The Cardinals like to spread the field with a lot of wide receivers. They will want to have five cornerbacks active. They do have Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, and Greg Toler. But Breeland is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and they Redskins don’t want to take any chance of being caught short-handed at cornerback if he suffers a setback. That’s especially true when they don’t need to bring an extra tackle along.

Depending on how things shake out injury-wise against the Cardinals there is a good chance that we could see Phillips on the waiver wire once again as a roster spot will be needed for Williams.

Bruton started the first four games of the season at safety before going on injured reserve with a concussion. This past offseason he signed a three-year, $9 million free agent contract with $3.4 million full guaranteed. There will be a deal cap hit of approximately $1.7 million in 2017 to account for the prorated bonus. 

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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins

Out

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)

Cardinals

Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.