A season ago, Dezmon Briscoe was a young NFL player whose career was on the rise.
Right now, he’s just trying to land a job.
Briscoe caught six touchdown passes for the Buccaneers in 2011, but was waived late last month after reportedly failing a conditioning test. Twenty-four hours later, the 22-year-old found himself on the Redskins, hoping to snag one of the final spots.
“Once you get cut, you want to prove that the other team was wrong [as well as] everybody that feels that this guy slacked off in the offseason and is out of shape, which is not true at all,” he said this week. “I guess I wasn’t fitting in their program and they made their decision. I’m okay with it. I’m just trying to seize my opportunity now.”
Asked about his goals for the upcoming season, Briscoe was humble.
“Big break out year?” he said, shrugging. “I don’t want to go that far with it. Right now I’m just trying to make the team and get a job.”
Although Briscoe was not targeted in the Redskins’ preseason-opening victory in Buffalo, he has impressed Coach Mike Shanahan with his playmaking ability in practice. Secondary coach Raheem Morris, who was the Bucs’ head coach last season, likely played a role in convincing Shanahan to take a chance on Briscoe.
“You can see he is a football player,” Shanahan said. “He has made plays throughout training camp and practice, and he will get a chance.”
That chance could arrive Saturday in Chicago. And, if it does, Briscoe said he’s had enough time to familiarize himself with Shanahan’s offense and will be ready.
“My comfort level is very high,” Briscoe said of learning the Redskins’ offense on a truncated schedule. “I go out there confident, knowing that I know what to do and put good stuff on film.”
“Coaches are critiquing everything, whether it’s a key block or a big catch,” he added. “You’re just trying to do the little things to surprise the coaches.”
Briscoe is battling Anthony Armstrong, Brandon Banks, Aldrick Robinson and Terrence Austin for the final two spots on the Redskins’ roster at wide receiver. The others also contribute on special teams; Briscoe does not. Which means the Texas native must prove himself to be a superior pass-catcher in order to claim a spot.
Two things are working in Briscoe’s favor: at 6 foot 2, 210 pounds, he’s bigger than his competition, and he caught more touchdowns last season than the others have combined in their careers.
“I think my height is probably my biggest thing,” Briscoe said. “Me and [Leonard] Hankerson are the biggest receivers we have. So that helps me out a lot.”
After having a limited role against the Bills, Briscoe knows he’s got to start showing what he can do in games. But he’s not sweating it – yet.
“We got three games left,” he said. “I still got a little more playing time this preseason. That’s my opportunity and I have to take advantage of it.”