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Hankerson: 'Everyone Has To Improve'

Posted Sep 9, 2013

Washington Redskins WR Leonard Hankerson had the best game of his career to date, but focused on how he and the rest of his teammates need to improve before Week 2.

Washington Redskins receiver Leonard Hankerson had a combined zero catches in his previous two season openers, getting shut out by the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints.

But tonight's 80-yard, two touchdown performance was no cause for celebration as he and his teammates fell 33-27 to the Philadelphia Eagles at home on Monday Night Football.

Even though Hankerson had limited snaps in the first half, he claimed his blame for the team's inability to get going early.

"We stunk up the first half, plain and simple," he said in the locker room after the game. "Three first downs we didn’t put up any points, we didn’t do enough.

"We let the defense down because they played well."

The defense scored first, corraling a fumble for a 75-yard touchdown return and the early 7-0 lead. Even when not putting points on the board, the defense limited the Eagles' attack as the Redskins offense failed to sustain drives through the first three quarters.

After a 2012 season in which the offense ranked in the top-5 and the defense ranked in the bottom-5, Hankerson said the offense did not like the odd role reversal.

"We didn’t keep [the defense] off the field," he said. "With them being on the field as long as they were, they kept on getting tight. As an offense, we didn’t do our job at all and we let them down."

Hankerson noted that the Redskins logged only three first downs in the first half, while turning the ball over twice, giving up a safety, and failing to convert a third down on four opportunities.

While the halftime adjustments weren't immediately noticeable, Hankerson praised his teammates for remaining mentally tough and making plays to get the team back in the game in the fourth quarter.

"In the second half we came out and showed some things that we were capable of. We all made plays.," he explained. "The offensive linemen blocking, running backs running the ball, receivers catching the ball – everybody just has to come together as one and just keep improving.

"This was the first game of the year. We’ve got a long way to go, and we’ve just got to keep improving all around."

The Redskins have a short week to adjust and improve in time for next Sunday's road battle against the Packers in Green Bay.

Hankerson expressed confidence that the team has the talent and the resolve to correct those mistakes starting Wednesday in practice.

"We have a whole lot of room for improvement. Everyone has to improve," he said. "We did some things in the second half that we can build on. We showed a whole lot of flash that we can build on.

"We’ve just got to take it back to practice on Wednesday and keep grinding. Do what we need to do to get better."

Hankerson said the talent is still in place for this offense to be great, but communication needs to improve to put that talent to good use.

"Everyone getting on the same page is what is going to take," he said. "We've got to do it start to finish and we didn’t do it today."