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Focus, Consistency Are Keys For Hankerson

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The Redskins receiving corps is a balanced mix of veterans and rookies, but the battle for roster spots could continue the rest of preseason.

Rookie Leonard Hankerson saw his first action in the NFL in the second half of last Friday's preseason game vs. Pittsburgh and he did not feel overwhelmed.

"Football is football," said Hankerson, the Redskins third-round draft choice. "It was a little different being out there on an NFL team, but it was pretty much the same thing."

Hankerson was targeted three times, making one catch for eight yards in the fourth quarter.
He is looking to build off his first performance for his next action this Friday against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

"I'm just looking to work on the fast tempo, staying focused and catching the ball before I run," Hankerson said. "I'm just trying to make plays for my team."

He certainly made plays for the University of Miami. He holds most single-season receiving records for the Hurricanes, surpassing players like Moss, Andre Johnson (now with the Houston Texans), Reggie Wayne (with the Colts), and Michael Irvin, the Hall of Fame receiver with the Cowboys.

In the NFL, Hankerson knows he must play with the consistency that is expected of a professional receiver. He has been plagued by drops in training camp and had another in the Steelers game.

"See, the harder the catch, the more I have to focus," Hankerson said. "The easier the catch, the more I don't focus. So, I just have to start focusing in on every catch and catch the ball well. That's what my job is."

The Redskins currently have 11 receivers on the roster heading into the second preseason game, a position that will most likely be trimmed to five or six players come regular season.

"You can't worry about all that. You have to go out and be yourself," Hankerson said about the competition. "You have to make plays for the team, catch the ball and the coaches will make a decision."

Hankerson and the other rookie receivers are spending quality time with receivers coach Keenan McCardell in the film room.

Hankerson said the rookies sometimes spend up to three hours of their day watching films of practice and games.

"Basically that's our job – doing the little things to get us to the next level," said Hankerson. "Now, I'm going to let the ball come all the way in and start making plays. I can't make a play if I don't have the ball."

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