As the Redskins were preparing for Tuesday’s practice session, Anthony Armstrong went into the equipment room with the yellow non-contact jersey he has worn for the last two-and-a-half weeks, since he strained the AC joint in his right shoulder. He returned with his white No. 13 jersey, and hung it in his locker.
“I asked if I could get out of that thing,” Armstrong said. “They said yeah. I get to go back to the regular stuff.”
Armstrong hopes to get back into the mix of Washington’s wide receiver competition, which features a crew of young wideouts battling for two or three final spots.
Armstrong watched last Saturday as competitors Brandon Banks,
Aldrick Robinson, Dezmon Briscoe and Terrence Austin all made plays. Banks returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown, Robinson had six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown, Briscoe had three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown, and Austin had a catch for 11 yards, and averaged 25.5 yards on two kickoff returns.
Armstrong had hoped to make his preseason debut, but didn’t have his number called. He did get onto the field for one play, but only because he “snuck” into the game. Robinson had run a long route, and Armstrong said he looked tired, so he sprinted onto the field, and Robinson went to the sideline.
Armstrong wasn’t targeted, and Robinson returned on the next play.
“I just know they’re going to make it tough decisions for everybody,” Armstrong said of his teammates. “Being two games behind is a lot of ground to make up on making plays, but I know that I’m capable of doing that. The offense is running great right now. You’ve just got to be able to fit in when you get your opportunity.”
Armstrong hasn’t yet been told what his role will be Saturday when Washington hosts Indianapolis. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said on Monday that Armstrong will play, but didn’t commit to giving him extra snaps to make up for lost time.
Armstrong said he hopes to make the most of the opportunities he does have. Last season, Armstrong suffered an early-season injury and never returned to the promising form he showed in 2010, when he was Washington’s second-leading wide receiver with 44 catches for 871 yards and three touchdowns.
“I’m the biggest supporter of everybody,” Armstrong continued. “I’m proud of Aldrick and Banks and Briscoe and those guys, and you see people making plays, you want to go out there and have some fun, too. I’m looking forward to getting out there, running around and hopefully getting some passes and get in the end zone.”
Armstrong’s coaches know his capabilities well, but that isn’t a source of consolation for the third-year receiver.
“They at least have something that they’ve seen for themselves versus what you see on tape. Unfortunately, I’m coming off a bad season,” Armstrong said. “Usually, it’s kind of ‘What have you done for me lately?’ Hopefully there’s enough of 2010 that weighs heavily on their mind that they can say ‘OK, he can get back to this level of play.’ But once again, I’ve just got to go out there and make plays at a high level.”