After the Redskins drafted three receivers and signed one veteran in free agency and traded for another, Terrence Austin's future in Washington did not look very bright. The 2010 seventh-round pick out of UCLA would have to fight off a sizeable collection of higher-drafted and higher-paid players in order to make the roster.
Halfway through the preseason game schedule, the picture looks considerably brighter for Austin. He took advantage of a knee injury to returner Brandon Banks and did well returning punts against the Colts, taking back four for an 11.3-yard average including a nifty 29-yarder on his first try. He also has made a mark as a receiver. He is tied for second on the team with 69 receiving yards in the two games and he is averaging 13.8 yards on his five catches.
His play has caught the attention of the coaches. “He's a great football player,” said offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. “If you look at him on paper he doesn't scream out at you. He's an NFL talent because he's quick and he's detailed at everything.“Quarterbacks love him because you can throw to him in any situation.”
Austin is not paying much attention to the praise from the coaches. “I just want to stay consistent and show that I'm able to play."
He said that he has been taking punt and kick returns in practice in Banks' absence but, as is the case with most other players, he is not sure what his role will be when the Redskins take on the Ravens on Thursday night. “It could be another opportunity for me,” he said. “They haven't really mentioned too much about what's going to happen yet but I'll know within the next day or two.”
He is happy to do anything to make the team. “I want to take any opportunity I can to prove that I deserve to be here,” he said.
Austin knows that he has a better chance of making the team if he can be an effective option catching passes. “I've been trying to capitalize at wide receiver,” he said. “It's pretty tough because there are a lot of guys here.“I'm just trying to take advantage of every opportunity I can get. I'm pretty much happy with what I'm doing.”
It looks like the coaches are happy with Austin's performance as well.