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Need to Know: Big Year 3 for Hankerson, Robinson

Jul 29, 2013, 4:40 AM EST

Hankerson camp

RICHMOND—Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 29, 10 days before the Redskins open their preseason against the Titans.

Make or break for Hank, Robinson?

The Redskins drafted three wide receivers in 2011. One of them, fifth-round pick Niles Paul, has been converted to tight end. This could be the year we find out what the Redskins get out of the other two.

Mike Shanahan didn’t come out and say that this is a make or break year for Leonard Hankerson (3rd round) and Aldrick Robinson (7th) but he did say that the career trajectory of the two needed to move upward in 2013 if they hope to ever be starting caliber receivers.

“Everybody knows what type of speed he has,” Shanahan said of Robinson. “For him to really step up his game, he’s got to be consistent with the underneath routes as much as the deep routes.”

Robinson hauled in touchdown passes of 49 yards against the Eagles and 68 yards in Dallas but he disappeared from the offense after defenses found out he wasn’t much of a threat if you kept him from going deep.

Hankerson has been catching nearly everything throw to him in OTAs, minicamp and, until yesterday, training camp. But in one drill he smoked Richard Crawford and got open deep. Robert Griffin put the ball right in his hands but Hankerson dropped it.

“[Hankerson’s] got to be more consistent, not only blocking, but catching the short route, the deep route,” said Shanahan. “Like he had today, the one ball he had in his hands and dropped it at the last second. He has to have that concentration level. He has to be mentally tough to make those plays in practice, which will carry over to games.”

The optimal outcome here, of course, would be for Hankerson and Robinson to become consistent, well rounded receivers. The position is expensive to fill in free agency, as the Redskins found out when they signed Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan to contracts worth a combined $53 million last year. And, as Robinson and Hankerson show, many receivers take time to develop and you are never really sure if they ever will.

Consistency is the key. If the Redskins can count on getting the best of Robinson and Hankerson on a regular basis, Shanahan will be happy.

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Today’s schedule (all practices open to the public)

10:00—Walkthrough practice, players available to media coming off the field

After walkthrough (approx. 11:30)—News conference with player TBA

3:20—Full practice, players available to media coming off the field

5:30 (approx.)—Mike Shanahan news conference

DL depth being put to the test

In case you missed it

Days until: Redskins @ Titans preseason opener 10; Final cuts 33; Eagles @ Redskins 42

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