Dezmon Briscoe put up numbers last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that would have made him among the top wide receivers with the Washington Redskins: 35 catches including six touchdowns.
After being cut by the Buccaneers after missing some offseason workouts and getting claimed by the Redskins, Briscoe has the challenge of seeing if he can make the team and make an impact.
"I had a bunch of personal stuff going on at the house, so I missed some voluntary workouts and conditioning tests," Briscoe said. "Everyone didn't pass. I feel like that was a big reason why it stuck out with me not passing because I wasn't there for offseason training. They made it seem like I was out of condition, which I'm not. I just got to take advantage of opportunity now."
Obviously Briscoe, a sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals on his third NFL team in two years, comes with some question marks. But he could take advantage of this opportunity given the lack of significant production the Redskins got out of the wide receiver position a year ago.
Jabar Gaffney was the most productive (five touchdowns, 68 catches), but he left for the New England Patriots. Among returnees, Santana Moss leads with four TDs and 46 catches.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Briscoe also brings a different dynamic to the receiving corps.
"Size," he said. "You know, there's not many big guys. There's the speedy, craftier, more route-running guys here traditionally. Just to come in and be a big receiver, make big plays, go over guys and score touchdowns."
It's a crowded field, with Moss, Leonard Hankerson, Terrence Austin, Anthony Armstrong and others already familiar with the system.
Briscoe isn't worried.
"Shouldn't take no time. The offense is similar to the one I ran with Raheem [Morris] down in Tampa, and just different names of the offensive stuff," he said. "The formations are the same. I should pick it up real quick."
He never got the chance to pick up where he left off with Tampa Bay. With Morris now serving as defensive backs coach with the Redskins, new coach Greg Schiano and Co. cut him loose on the first day of training camp.
Briscoe called that "disheartening" but understood where things went wrong.
"The coaching staff, they pretty much hand-picked their guys and knew who they wanted," he said. "And with the disciplined program that they're running down there, not showing up to voluntary workouts, to the new coaching staff, I think that made a big difference as to why I'm not there now."
Briscoe's in Ashburn with the Redskins now and gets the chance to show the Bengals and Buccaneers what they gave up on.
"Every time you get released from a team, you've always got to start over and prove yourself over and over again," he said. "This type of league that we're in, we're all professionals and everyone's good, so you've got to go into camp expecting nothing's promised and give it your all."
Mike Shanahan sat down with Briscoe on Saturday morning and told him what the expectations were from an organizational perspective. The Redskins' coach was complimentary of the 22-year-old's accomplishments, but nothing's for sure.
"He's a guy that, take a look at how many touchdown catches he had last year and what he did in college, good size," Shanahan said. "So we'll give him a chance to compete, see what he can do."
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