Leonard Hankerson records his first catch

A week after his first pass route in an official NFL game ended in an interception, thanks to a miscommunication between him and quarterback John Beck, Redskins rookie wide receiver Leonard Hankerson did better, recording the first catch of his career.

Beck connected with Hankerson on a 23-yard pass on a third-and-8 play late in the first quarter.

Hankerson caught the ball in the flat at the Redskins’ 48-yard line, turned up field and gained four yards before he was tackled.

Hankerson, who spent the first five games of the season on the inactive list, wasn’t able to come away from the game with much of a sense of accomplishment, however, given the Redskins’ blowout loss.

“I mean, it was actually a big play on a third down, but right now, it doesn’t mean anything,” Hankerson said. “We didn’t win the game, we didn’t score on the drive. We need to make more big plays and win games.”

Two plays later, Beck had Hankerson running down the center of the field with a step on his man. But the quarterback overthrew the 6-foot-2 Hankerson by about 10 yards. In all, Beck threw Hankerson’s way four times, but the rookie did not record another catch as a member of an underperforming offense.

“It’s very frustrating, because we’ve got to do things – offense and defense -- to make plays,” Hankerson said. “The defense is getting stops , but we on offense need to make plays, convert on offense and we had zero points today, so that’s what hurts us.”

During the preseason, Hankerson found himself coming off the bench, which he says affected his focus. But since getting the nod in each of the last two games, Hankerson has worked to remain loose on the sideline while doing a better job of remaining in touch with what’s going on in the game.

When he wasn’t playing, Hankerson occasionally sprinted up and down the sideline and stretched while discussing plays and assignments with receivers coach Keenan McCardell and teammates.

“Everything, it’s all good,” Hankerson said. “I’m out there, ready to play, do what I have to do. And I’m working with my coaches and it’s all good. I just need make sure I stay warmed up on the sideline because you never know when they’ll need me.”

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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