When the Washington Redskins broke up into small groups for positional drills during their voluntary minicamp Tuesday morning, the wide receivers headed to a corner of the field.
At that moment, Anthony Armstrong made an observation.
Of the five receivers who attended the practice, he was the most experienced and most knowledgeable. Armstrong’s resume isn’t extensive, however. Although 28, Armstrong spent the first few years of his professional career playing in arena football leagues and then had stints on the Dolphins’ and Redskins’ practice squads before he made Washington’s 53-man roster last season.
But Armstrong was the Redskins’ second-leading wide receiver last season, with 44 catches for 871 yards and three touchdowns. (Santana Moss led the way with 93 catches, 1,115 yards and six touchdowns.)
Moss, who is a free agent, wasn’t there on Tuesday.
So Armstrong directed Terrence Austin and Brandon Banks (both second-year Redskins who played sparingly as receivers last year) and rookies Niles Paul and Leonard Hankerson through drills.
“It was cool. I think this summer coaching gig actually worked out for me,” said Armstrong, who has been coaching a youth soccer team. “But it was cool. It was a role that I’ll embrace. Once I looked at the situation, I realized that yeah, I am the elder statesman -- the guy with the most playing experience in this offense. I know if these guys are going to be here, they’re going to have to make an impact, and I’m as much a part of that. So, I wanted to give them a heads up. All it’s going to do is make us better as a team.”
When the receivers reconvened with the quarterbacks for seven-on-seven drills, Armstrong continued explaining routes and formations, and his fellow pass-catchers were appreciative.
“It was definitely a learning experience; I felt like I was a freshman in college all over again,” Paul said. “It was pretty fast-paced, but I feel like that’s the best way I learn. … You have to applaud the players for getting us rookies up here and helping us out a lot. I learned a lot and it was really a fun time.”
Armstrong said his fellow receivers understandably weren’t perfect, but have gotten off to a solid start.
“They actually had the benefit of getting a playbook beforehand. So they actually got some of the terminology down,” Armstrong said. “There were some technical things about the routes that I had to let them know about, but I think they’re doing just fine right now.”