RICHMOND—The situation with Maurice Harris and the Redskins is, well, complicated. He was promoted from the practice squad midway through the 2016 season, and he performed well in very limited duty.
Last year, he was a surprising cut when they reduced the roster to 53. He returned from the practice squad, made a spectacular catch for a touchdown the first time he was targeted and then he mostly disappeared. After that one catch for 36 yards against the Vikings in Week 10, he caught just three more for 26 yards.
This year, Harris is determined not to have anything get in his way of making the 53-man roster and contributing. He is having an excellent camp in the early going.
One play that he made on Sunday is a good illustration.
It came during one-on-one coverage drills, and it should be noted that the format favors the offense since there is no pass rush and no help on coverage. That doesn’t detract from Harris’ play here because he was well covered in the back right corner of the end zone.
The pass went up, and Harris had to go up for it. He jumped higher than the defender and got both of his hands on the ball, pulled it in and held on as he hit the ground. So, even under the old catch rules, it was a touchdown.
However, Harris’ helmet did not survive the ground. It came off on impact and rolled a few feet away. It didn’t seem to bother him, as he picked it up and trotted back to join the rest of the offensive players.
Harris hasn’t just been making spectacular plays. He is doing the little things right, too. In the practice report from Saturday, I noted how he was getting out of his breaks quickly. The finer points add up.
One thing Harris must do to make the team and be productive is to stay healthy. A knee injury that forced him out of training camp practice for a while last year likely contributed to him getting cut. Once he made his way back on the roster he missed games with a concussion and a back injury. You can’t make the club in the tub, as they say, and it will be very important for Harris to stay injury free.
Harris is in competition with Robert Davis, Brian Quick, Trey Quinn and possible others for spots on the 53-man roster and position on the depth chart. Harris appears to be in good position and if he can stay healthy a spot on the 53 could be a lock.
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