Now that tight end Logan Thomas is likey out for the season with an ACL injury, a bulk of Washington's targets will be up for grabs once again. Slot receiver Adam Humphries could be the beneficiary of that, taking ownership of a bigger role in the offense.
This past Sunday, when Washington was desperate for a score in the final minutes of the game in Las Vegas, it was Humphries who stepped up for the squad and made the plays that ultimately saved the game.
WFT was down by one with just 2:22 remaining on the clock. Terry McLaurin was routinely blanketed by DBs on his deeper routes, so Humphries took advantage in the short game and made two huge grabs — both for first downs — to put Washington in Raider territory and ultimately set up Brian Johnson’s game-winning field goal.
“It’s awesome,” Humphries said of his increasing role in the scheme. “We’ve got playmakers all across the board – tight end, running back, receiver — and just being able to have a role and play a part in a big win like this is awesome. It’ll be a great flight home, for sure.”
When Washington signed Humphries ahead of the 2021 NFL season, they knew what they were getting: a small, yet shifty and effective slot receiver who could take some of the passing brunt off the hands of McLaurin.
That might just be the best thing about Humphries’ contributions to WFT in these last five games. Opposing defenses are sure to focus their energy on McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, and maybe even Curtis Samuel before they pay extra mind to Humphries.
“That’s huge for our success, being able to run the ball effectively and then convert on third down and keep the drives alive,” Humphries said. “Our defense is playing lights-out right now and to be able to give them a few extra minutes of rest is crucial. The longer we can stay on the field, the better.”
As Pete Hailey noted this past week, the veteran Humphries seems to be most valuable when the clock is running down. No, his four-catch, 38-yard day won’t jump off the stat sheet, but when you need a chunk play to gain yards on a second-and-long or to get within field goal range, Humphries is an excellent piece to have on your offense thanks to his reliable hands and savvy route-running.
It also helps that his connection with Taylor Heinicke seems to be improving by the minute.
“He’s a competitor, and I don’t think that changes just late in the fourth quarter,” Humphries said of his quarterback. “He’s just competitive to his core. And you see it the way he stands in the pocket and somehow gets out of the toughest situations with defensive linemen surrounding him… it’s great to have a quarterback that’s tough and willing to do that for you.”
Humphries isn’t the guy who will make an awe-inspiring one-handed catch to win the game or post a 150-yard receiving day. Instead, he’s the solid playmaker you need at the slot who can influence the entire offense through his shallow route running. With five huge NFC East matchups coming up, Humphries knows that each snap counts.
“When the schedule was released, we all noticed we’ve got five huge divisional games to finish out our season…these last five games will be big.”