On Friday night, Leonard Hankerson was the Redskins top receiver, with four targets and three receptions for 46 yards. He had a 25-yard catch and run over the middle for a first down. He moved the chains again with an 18-yard reception over the middle.
But no congratulations for this rookie; the only play that Hankerson wanted to reflect on after the game was the one that got away.
“I felt good actually playing out there, but I still gotta focus,” he said after the game. “I still had that one drop that I wish I could go back and catch it, but it’s over now, man.”
Hankerson has talent to spare, but he said that his concentration is to blame for his drops this preseason.
“I just gotta go out there and keep my focus and stop trying to run before I get the ball, because if I keep doing that I won’t be playing for long,” he said matter-of-factly. “I just gotta keep working in practice to put it all together, and just keep coming back and translating that into the game.”
Part of his struggles can be attributed to the old cliche of the game coming too fast. With two games under his belt, however, Hankerson said that he’s starting to grasp the pace of the game.
“It’s starting to slow down especially when these teams coming out here playing zone,” he said. “If they playing zone, then it’s just run your route and get open–run your route and you’ll be open. It’s a little different man-to-man, but in that zone you wide open.”
Hankerson has drawn a line in the sand and does not accept drops as part of his game.
“I can’t just drop that one pass and expect that to be okay,” he said. “I gotta be mentally stronger to catch the ball before I try to run. I gotta keep improving each and every week and get better.”
The Redskins thought they were getting a future No. 1 receiver with Hankerson in the third round of the draft, and only time will tell if they were right. But for now, he certainly has the required mentality to develop into that guy.
He tweeted yesterday, during his day off:
Hankerson knows what the expectations are for him and is doing the things necessary to get to the next level.
Tags: leonard hankerson, practice, washington redskins
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