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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 08/21/2012

Shanahan: Young Redskins receivers ‘helped themselves’

Washington Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said that young receivers Aldrick Robinson and Dezmon Briscoe improved their standings in the eyes of the team’s talent evaluators with their strong performances Saturday night against Chicago.

“I think they helped themselves,” Shanahan said Monday.

Robinson, drafted in the sixth round in 2011 before spending all but one week last season on the practice squad, recorded six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Briscoe – signed as a free agent early in training camp after being cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – had three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown against the Bears.

In two preseason games, Robinson has eight catches for 132 yards. His finest moment came early in the fourth quarter when he caught a pass from Kirk Cousins, then turned downfield and outran three defenders for a 49-yard touchdown.

“I took a look at the one play Aldrick made and it was a big-time play,” Shanahan said. “The ball was deflected, he caught it on the shoulder pad, made some guys miss and you could see the speed and explosion and that is what you’re looking for.”

Briscoe has seen more action in the last two weeks of practice, and on Saturday scored on a 20-yard pass down the middle from Cousins.

“A guy like Briscoe, I thought, did a good job catching the ball, using his hands and taking advantage of his opportunities,” Shanahan said.

Those two receivers are competing with Anthony Armstrong, Terrence Austin and Brandon Banks for the final spots on Washington’s receiver unit.

Austin had one catch for 11 yards on Saturday, and had two kickoff returns for a total of 51 yards with a long of 31. Armstrong, who missed the team’s first preseason game with a shoulder injury, only got on the field for one play against Chicago, but wasn’t targeted.

Banks, a week after being targeted nine times but only recording two catches, didn’t get in the game as a receiver, but returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown. Shanahan had previously said that Banks needs to prove he can make the team as a receiver and not just a returns specialist.

But Shanahan admitted Monday that Banks – like Robinson and Briscoe – made a strong case for himself as well.

“When a guy has game-breaking potential and ability, which he has shown, it is tough not to keep a guy like that,” Shanahan said. “But we have a lot of competition and that is what you want to have. Who else can return punts? Who else can play wide receiver? That is what you have to evaluate and sometimes you let some good football players go.”

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 08/21/2012

 
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