The Washington Post

Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson help in areas besides pass catching

Washington Redskins wide receivers Leonard Hankerson and Josh Morgan both had active games Sunday, helping the team to a 24-22 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Redskins coaches have emphasized to receivers the importance of their contributions in run-blocking. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Hankerson, a second-year pro out of Miami, had a season-high seven catches for 57 yards. Morgan – a free agent signing last spring — had four catches on four targets and recorded a season-high 62 yards (three of his catches for 49 yards came in the second half).

 Redskins coach Mike Shanahan called Sunday Morgan’s best game as a Redskin, and praised Hankerson’s development as well.

 But what pleased the coach just as much as the wideouts’ pass-catching ability was their blocking. Both displayed a willingness to get physical with opponents in the run game. Hankerson had a downfield block that helped running back Alfred Morris make it to the end zone on a 39-yard run.

Redskins coaches have stressed the importance of receivers contributing with strong blocking, and the wideouts have bought in.

 “They have to understand that that’s part of their responsibility, is to block,” Shanahan said. “Every receiver likes to catch, we know that. But when you have guys like Pierre [Garcon] and [Morgan] coming in and [Hankerson] has gotten so much better here in the last couple games where he’s becoming a total player, that they understand when it’s time to block you have to block and when it’s time to catch you have to catch. When you have that mindset, you have a chance to do something special as an offense. Everybody has a role and everybody has to play for each other.”

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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