Everyone always says, outside of Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed, we don't have any other receiving threats. Let's take a look at Leonard Hankerson, the man who claimed the #2 WR spot from Josh Morgan, and his performance against the San Diego Chargers.
On the first play we'll look at, the Redskins run a double out route at the bottom of the screen. The Chargers are in Cover 2 man. Leonard Hankerson has a big cushion (his routes will be marked in white).
Hankerson gets his hips low in his break and Robert Griffin III delivers the ball with perfect timing.
Hank makes a good hands catch but the CB takes a good angle and makes a solid tackle. Gain of 4 yards.
Here's a 3rd down play. The Chargers are in a Cover 1 man. Hankerson has a slant into the middle of the field.
RG3 hits Logan Paulsen on the out route which resulted in a first down. Hankerson, in the middle, also gained separation.
With the Redskins being backed up in their end zone, Hankerson will be running a quick hitch route. The Chargers are in Cover 2 man.
Hankerson breaks quick, finds room to sit down and is open. Unfortunately, the Chargers bat this in ball in the air. Pick-six. The pass was intended for Hankerson.
This is a Read-Option Play-Action. Hank has the deep comeback route at the top of the screen. San Diego is in a Cover 3.
Hankerson does a good job of selling the fly route then cuts is off and retreats back to the ball. Garcon is also open at the bottom on a Post-Corner route.
RG3 stays with Hankerson and delivers a strike. Hankerson plucks the ball out of the air with his hands like he's apple picking. Gain of 23 yards.
In addition to catching the ball clean, Hankerson is also doing better at the line of scrimmage. On this play, CB tries to press him.
CB extends his arms and Hankerson brushes it off and tosses him aside.
While Hankerson's route does take him right to the safety (who is in a Cover 2), it's still encouraging to see Hank more physical at the line and leave that CB behind.
Hankerson has a deep hitch on this play. San Diego is in a Cover 1 man.
Hank comes open on the hitch route (hard to see white arrow). Pressure causes RG3 to slide in pocket but Griffin was staring at Garcon the whole way here. He also has a guy open in the flat. Great catch here by Garcon WITH defensive pass interference.
This play confuses me and highlights some improvement needed by RG3. San Diego is playing a Cover 2 man and RG3 is looking to his right the whole time.
RG3 likes looking to Jordan Reed who is open here on the out route. Not only that, but he drew in the safety who is suppose to stay deep. This leaves Griffin to hit Reed on the out route or now throw the bomb to Hankerson whose CB now has no help over the top.
Griffin takes neither option and the play ends in what looks like a jacknife powerbomb. I loved the heart on the play and many are calling it the spark to turn our season around, but this crazy landing could have been avoided had he hit one of the options I showed above.
San Diego shows a Cover 2 shell here but brings a safety down to help double Garcon. Three out routes here.
Safety actually doesn't have to double anyone because Garcon gets pressed to the ground (rare). Moss and Hankerson are both open on out routes because of the large cushions. RG3 hits Hankerson for a gain of 8 yards.
Here is the same exact play I showed you earlier where RG3 hit Paulsen for a first down but Hankerson was also open in the middle of the field. San Diego plays a Cover 1 man here.
The CB plays inside technique on Hankeson (to prevent him from getting to the middle of the field).
Hank gives a quick outside move, crosses the CBs face and RG3 hits him in a small window. Gain of 11 yards.
The Chargers are in a Cover 3 here. The ball should go to Garcon on out route at the bottom of the screen but pressure prevents that. I'm showing you this play because of LOVE Hankerson's route running on this play. He has a deep comeback at the top of the screen.
Hank pushes up-field hard like a fly route. The CB is in Cover 3 but is not afraid of Hank's speed so he stays close. The CB opens up his hips outside because Hank is selling the outside fly route.
As SOON as CB opens his hips outside, Hankerson cuts back inside like a post. It forces the CB to take his eyes off Hank to open his hips back the other way.
When the CB does THAT, Hank breaks down his route and comes back to the ball. Look at the separation he generated. Unfortunately, pressure forced RG3 to scramble.
Here is the 3rd down play call that NOBODY liked and gave the Chargers the ball to drive down at the end of the game. It's 3rd and 3. Redskins have 4 out routes here against San Diego's Cover 1 man.
RG3 throws the ball on time but has to throw it high because the CB is all over Garcon. At the bottom, Hankerson is open and would have had a first down.
Here's a Read-Option Play-Action Pass in overtime. Hankerson is in the slot up top in what looks like a Cover 2 man coverage.
As you can see, the CB points out Hankerson crossing middle after letting him go. No one is there.
With so much space, Hankerson throttles it down and gives RG3 a big target. Griffin hits him for a gain of 9 yards.
This picture here is the only screen capture I could get that I saw Hankerson struggle with DB. DB kept him tied up pretty long here. During the game, I saw that he needs to get a little more aggressive in run blocking but most times Josh Morgan is brought in for that which has to make it slightly predictable.
That wraps up Leonard Hankerson vs. the Chargers. Don't worry, there won't be a two part breakdown this week because of the short turnaround for Thursday's game.