Josh Morgan: ‘I know I didn’t do anything to lose my job’

Josh Morgan

Josh Morgan has gone from No. 2 receiver to a seldom-used option this season. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Wide receiver Josh Morgan has only 11 catches in his second season with the Washington Redskins and says he has no explanation for his reduced role on the team.

“You’ve got to ask the coaches,” Morgan said Thursday. “I think I’ve been doing my job. I know I’ve been doing my job. I know I didn’t do anything to lose my job. So you have to really ask the coaches. I can’t control nothing. I can just go out there and do my job.”

Morgan signed with the Redskins as a free agent prior to last season and the D.C. native led the team with 48 catches last season. But he has struggled to contribute this season while Leonard Hankerson has taken over as the Redskins’ main threat at the wide receiver spot opposite Pierre Garcon.

“It’s definitely a difficult situation,” Morgan said. “But I’m one of the people that really puts pride into putting on this Redskins uniform because I’m from here. I always had pride and I always rooted for this team. It never had anything to do with the people I was playing for. It was more the team. … You go out there and you play for the same reasons you did as little kid, because you love the game. You had fun enjoying the game. You play the game with a certain type of passion because of that.

“I think everybody when they saw me play all last year, they kind of saw me play throughout my career, they saw the passion I play with. They see the intensity I play with. They see how I play the game. A lot of people love the way I do play the game, especially at the wide receiver position, the way I play the game. So you can’t really worry about stuff you can’t control. … You’re auditioning for somebody every day. So just go out there and do your job every day. That’s all you can worry about. As long as you’re getting better, that’s all you can worry about.”

Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said that Hankerson — who ranks third on the team with 29 catches, behind Garcon and rookie tight end Jordan Reed — earned his increased opportunities with his practice-field play.

“It’s more that Hankerson has been stepping it up so we’ve given Hank more reps,” Shanahan said Thursday. “Something we said back in training camp — those guys have been competing since the starting of OTAs this year through camp. They’re always neck and neck. Right when one guy would take a step up, the next day he would take a step back and they’re always right here. And that’s how it was kind of at the beginning of the year. We just felt on the practice field that Hank had been stepping it up. So we’ve been giving him a few more opportunities, especially on third down and stuff, more passing situations. And that’s how it’s been. So it doesn’t mean it’s final. But we evaluate everything every day and week to week, and Hank has definitely earned more playing time as the time has gone on.”

Morgan said his decreased role actually is easier to accept given that he’s playing for his home-town team.

● Related: Josh Morgan cherishes the close ties he keeps to Washington

“It’s hard regardless where you’re playing at,” he said. “I’m not gonna say it’s harder. I would say it’s easier doing this in your home town because everybody watches you closely and watches everything that’s going on with you closely. So you don’t really have to say nothing. Everybody else already sees what’s going on.”

Morgan, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, said he does not regret signing with the Redskins.

“I knew the only reason I left California, left the 49ers, was to come home and play for the home team,” he said. “I don’t regret that decision at all. I mean, throughout anybody’s career you ask all 53 players on this team if they had an opportunity after their rookie contract to go play for their home team, I don’t know of anybody that would give up that opportunity. So no, I don’t regret the decision at all. I had the most catches last year. We went to the playoffs for the first time in 10 years last year. I don’t regret it at all. I love my city. I love playing football. You can’t control the business side of it. You can’t control what coaches want to do. It is what it is.”

What’s ahead:

● Mark Maske on the Redskins’ return game.

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