A year after emerging as the Washington Redskins’ second-leading wide receiver in 2010, recording 44 catches for 871 yards and three touchdowns, Anthony Armstrong expected big things in his sophomore season in the NFL.
The Redskins drafted three wide receivers and acquired two more veterans in Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth, but Armstrong still thought he would have a key role with the team.
The season did start off on a promising note as Armstrong had two catches for 24 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against the New York Giants. But things never advanced from there. Armstrong suffered a hamstring injury in Week 3, and missed two games. And after that, his production and opportunities remained uneven as Armstrong found himself in and out of the lineup and unable to consistently capitalize on the opportunities he did receive.
Armstrong recorded only three catches the rest of the season, with a 50-yard bomb from Rex Grossman for the go-ahead touchdown against Seattle coming as the highlight.
Although frustrated, Armstrong said he comes away from the 2011 season having learned an important lesson.
“I think, personally, I’m not going to say that I felt like any job should’ve been given to me, but you’ve got to find a way to put in that much more, or do that much more to retain your position,” Armstrong said. “There’s always people trying to replace you and put people in your spot. So you’ve got to find a way to keep that edge, push that much harder, do that much more, just so you make sure you stay on top. … You have to make sure you’re more consistent. Do it every time, and not just flashing here and there.”
Although under contract for the 2012 season – the final year of his deal – Armstrong doesn’t know what the future holds. Do coaches still see value in him? Or will they deem him expendable while counting on veterans Santana Moss and Gaffney and the growth of 2010 draft picks Leonard Hankerson and Niles Paul while also seeking to add another play-maker to their ranks?
Armstrong wants to remain with the Redskins and said that he hopes he gets the chance to do so.
“Oh yeah, most definitely. I love the offense, I love the possibilities we have, both running and passing,” Armstrong said. “I love my teammates, and when you have a good continuity that’s always good. I like the way things are going outside of the record. I like the way we’ve got a lot of high-character guys. I truly believe that we’re on our way to being able to flip the record around and be on the strong side of things. I want to be here. But if I’m not, that’s the nature of the business and you have to move onto the next team and find a way to latch on somewhere else.”
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