Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan expects to use either second-year pro Anthony Armstrong or rookie Niles Paul at the starting wide receiver spot previously occupied by Santana Moss, who is expected to miss five to seven weeks after breaking his left hand.
Moss had “three pins put in his index finger in that area” during surgery Monday, according to Shanahan.
Paul and Armstrong alternated at the ‘X’ position that Moss plays on the outside. Paul caught the two passes that came his way for 25 yards, and Armstrong, who was targeted four times, recorded one catch for nine yards.
“Both guys deserve a chance to show what they can do, I like the way they played, and we’re going to play the best players,” Shanahan said.
Armstrong opened the season as the third receiver, but missed the two games prior to Sunday’s matchup while nursing a hamstring injury. Paul has played primarily on special teams, but did line up at receiver occasionally during the first five games. Washington opened Sunday’s game with a three-receiver set, and instead of Armstrong, Paul lined up alongside Moss and No. 2 receiver Jabar Gaffney.
Armstrong is the team’s top threat to stretch the field. Last season, he ranked second on the team in receiving.
The Redskins went to Paul – their fifth-round pick out of Nebraska -- twice late in the game and he recorded his first two catches of the season.
“Niles Paul’s done a great job in special teams. He’s played a few plays and, when he’s played, he’s taken advantage of it,” Shanahan said.
Second-year pro Terrence Austin previously has been used on some of the same pass routes out of the slot that Moss has run, and could be an option there, with Armstrong or Paul splitting wide opposite Gaffney.