Anthony Armstrong is encouraged by his role

Second-year wide receiver Anthony Armstrong wasn’t sure what to make of the Washington Redskins’ pursuit of five new wideouts this offseason.

He had posted a solid season while lining up opposite Santana Moss in 2010, but Washington signed free agents Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth, and also drafted Leonard Hankerson, Niles Paul and Aldrick Robinson.

Armstrong worked to avoid discouragement and used each addition as motivation.

During the preseason he was slotted as the third wide receiver behind Moss and Gaffney, but didn’t know what to expect this season. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound West Texas A&M product recorded two catches for 24 yards and a touchdown in the season opener was encouraged by his role in the Redskins’ offense.

“I was actually kind of surprised, seeing how everything was going to work out and expected to come off the bench a little bit,” said Armstrong, who recorded 44 catches for 871 receiving yards and three touchdowns last season. “But it worked out well. To make an impact, it works out find for me. Whatever they want me to do.”

Quarterback Rex Grossman targeted Armstrong six times on Sunday. In addition to the two completions – an 18-yard toss and the six-yard fade route for the touchdown – Grossman underthrew Armstrong once and overthrew him another time. On another pass, Grossman led Armstrong out of bounds and the receiver made one catch along the sideline, but wasn’t able to get two feet down as he went out of bounds. The other time Grossman went to Armstrong, the wideout made a leaping catch, but couldn’t hang onto the ball as he came down with it.

Armstrong obviously wants to show improvement this week, but even if he doesn’t receive as many passes his way, he will look for other ways to help the Redskins.

“I just want to make an impact,” said Armstrong, who also plays special teams for Washington. “If I score, that’s good. That’s always in the plans. But I just take it as a week to week thing. If I score, that’s perfect. If I have to make a couple tackles on special teams, that works out well, too.”

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.

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