During his press conference Monday, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan took the rare step for him, anyway of publicly pointing out why somebody isnt playing much when asked about in-a-rut receiver Anthony Armstrong.
Through the first half of the season, Armstrong has been limited to five catches for 47 yards and he played only eight snaps against San Francisco.
Anthony hasnt been as consistent as I would like getting off bump coverage, Shanahan said. If you cant beat bump coverage in the National Football League, then you start coaching.
Consider Shanahans message received by Armstrong.
For nearly 20 minutes after practice Wednesday at Redskin Park, Armstrong remained on the field, working with receivers coach Keenan McCardell on, yep, bump coverage.
I told him I was kind of teasing but at the same time, I was kind of serious, Shanahan said.
Armstrong spoke with Shanahan about the analysis.
Initially, I took it as a swipe, but I also took it as a challenge, Armstrong said. Thats his general comment to every receiver. I just happened to be the one in the cross-hair at the time.
We all have to work to do against press coverage. I feel like Ive been successful against it and everybody has their slip-ups. You cant pull up the tape and say every time its been bump I havent been successful.
If the Redskins passing game has any chance of becoming consistent starting Sunday in Miami, Armstrong must be part of the solution. Through eight games last year, he had 17 catches for 368 yards (21.6-yard average), developing into a deep threat.
This year got off to a good start. Armstrong was targeted six times against the Giants, catching a 6-yard touchdown and an 18-yard pass to set up another score.
Since then? Not good. In the last five games hes played (he missed two with a hamstring injury), Armstrong has been targeted 13 times, but has only three catches.
Im not saying Im not ready to go, but I have to get back in the swing of things, he admitted. Eventually, Ill get some catches again, win some games and get the offense rolling.
The last two games have been a new low.
Armstrong played 74.1 percent of the snaps last year but was been on the field only 21.9 percent (27 of 123) against Buffalo and San Francisco.
The production understandably dropped targeted four times vs. the Bills (no catches) and just one time vs. the 49ers (incompletion).
First and foremost, he has to get more opportunities, McCardell said. Guys step up each week and this week, it could be him. Next week, it could be him. Each week, he has to come out and prove it to us in practice and do the things we know he can do.
Shanahan and McCardell have no issues with Armstrongs want-to.
Hes fine, McCardell said. Hes feeling like he needs to show folks that hes still Anthony, which I know he is. He loves to work. If you dont work, you wont get better. Thats the first thing he has the work ethic to work to get better.
Said Shanahan: Im happy with the guy and the way he goes about his business.
Armstrong hopes a Miami pass defense that ranks 27th is his elixir.
I cant say Im any more motivated than I have been, he said. Im frustrated by the lack of playing time, lack of production, lack of wins and not being able to help the team.
Game by game statistics for Redskins receiver Anthony Armstrong:
Opponent Targeted Catches Yards TDs
NYG 6 2 24 1
Arizona 3 2 14 0
Dallas 0 0 0 0
St. Louis Injured
Carolina 5 1 9 0
Buffalo 4 0 0 0
SF 1 0 0 0
Totals 19 5 47 1
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