Washington Redskins wide receiver Anthony Armstrong is making the most of his opportunity
Sunday, August 29, 2010; 12:46 AM
Anthony Armstrong has nothing to worry about on Tuesday, when the Redskins make their first cuts of the preseason. He has nothing to worry about going into the final exhibition game against Arizona, and nothing to worry about afterward, either. He's made the 2010 roster.
Armstrong brings something to the Redskins that few others do, and he brings it in abundance: He's fun to watch. He runs his routes, he finds a way to get open, and he finds a way to make catches, even on less-than-perfectly-thrown balls.
"He's awesome," quarterback Rex Grossman said after Friday's 16-11 victory over the Jets. "He's definitely explosive. He's going to be a great player for us this year."
Armstrong has become a fan favorite, a quarterback favorite and a coaching favorite in less than a month. Sadly, it wasn't that hard to do. The Redskins' stable of wide receivers is a bit . . . thin. Let's see who we've got.
Santana Moss? He's still the top dog of this group, no question.
Joey Galloway? Despite the fact that he didn't catch a ball in the preseason until Friday night in New Jersey, he's in as well. He caught three of six balls thrown his way against the Jets and none of the three he didn't catch were his fault.
Armstrong? Asked and answered.
Devin Thomas? He was pretty invisible Friday night - 12 guys caught passes, none of them named Thomas - but Coach Mike Shanahan said that was by design. He caught four of nine balls for 78 yards in the first two games, including a 44-yard touchdown against Buffalo. We'll get a better look next week in Arizona, those of us who can stay awake. But chances are he's in - although I'd keep some change-of-address cards handy, just in case.
And then it gets tricky. Let's start with Malcolm Kelly, who has barely practiced and has yet to play. Since being chosen by the Redskins in the second round of the 2008 draft, Kelly has failed to impress. He has also proven a bit delicate, and going down with a hamstring injury at the beginning of camp didn't help that reputation. He also has some maturity issues; witness the five traffic citations in 18 months. I would cut him.
However, he has one advantage over everyone else: He's 6 feet 4. In the kingdom of the short wide receivers, Kelly is king. So while I would cut him, the Redskins may not.
And speaking of the kingdom of the short, how about Brandon Banks? If a player can look me in the eye in an NFL locker room, that's a concern. (If a player can look me in the eye in an NBA locker room, that's Muggsy Bogues.)
Banks is listed at a generous 5-7, which makes me about 5-5. (I wish.) He's had a spectacular 77-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Bills, but no receptions. He had one catch against the Ravens, a beauty for 29 yards. He had two catches against the Jets. How does he overcome his height disadvantage?