Standing on the sideline with my back to the fans every morning (inevitably blocking someone’s view), I get to hear the observations of the Redskins faithful.
Without fail, every morning I hear somebody ask during receiver drills, “Who the heck is No. 80?”
Meet Isaac Anderson, former Wisconsin Badger and undrafted wide receiver for your Redskins. He may not have the name, he may not have the hype, but so far he’s doing all the right things to stick around.
“I’m just trying to go out there and learn as fast as I can,” he said. “I definitely made a couple plays in back-to-back practices. I’m starting to pick it up and it’s a lot better being here and getting the install than trying to catch up.”
With the addition of players like Santana Moss and Donte Stallworth to practice, snaps have decreased across the board. However, the presence of these players has only helped players like Anderson.
“I’m watching Santana’s every move,” he said of his strategy. “I’m right behind him in line, in drills. Every time he lines up I’m watching him.”
Moss is the type of player that Anderson has modeled his game after for years. Both players are 5-10 with a good mix of speed and hands. Anderson knows that he has raw talent, but looks to Moss for the details on being a pro.
“I know he’s been doing it for a long time,” he said. “He’s real crisp in his routes. So I just want to mirror that and steal a bunch of things from every other guy. If I can do what he can do, I should be able to play on this level.”
Moss, Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney have a combined 30 years of NFL experience, so he’s picking worthy players to emulate. He also knows that their presence makes his job of making the team that much harder.
“I knew it was going to be a competition wherever I go,” he said nonchalantly. “I definitely wanted the opportunity in camp for when my numbers called make the opportunity and make a play.”
Another person that ha asided in his transition, is wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell. Using a combination of encouragement and accountability, McCardell has gotten the most out of everyone.
“He keeps it simple for you and demonstrates it for you,” he explained. “He makes it real simple for guys to learn the plays. He has a high standard for everybody and shows no favoritism.”
“When he gives you an opportunity he expects you to make a play.”
And that’s exactly what Anderson has been able to do on several occasions during camp.
Whether or not Anderson makes the squad will be largely out of his control and subject to a numbers game at this point. There are ten other receivers on the roster, but Anderson has done a lot so far to catch up to the pack.
He’s a certified long-shot, but has all of the intangibles working in his favor.
“Sometimes I don’t even know who’s throwing me the ball,” he said with a laugh. “I’m trying to line up and run my routes.”
And that’s who the heck No. 80 is.
Tags: Isaac Anderson, rookie, washington redskins, Wisconsin
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