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Armstrong Looking To Make A Strong Second Impression In Miami

Posted Sep 6, 2012

A lot of things have changed since Anthony Armstrong left the Dolphins in the summer of 2009.

A lot of things have changed since Anthony Armstrong left the Dolphins in the summer of 2009.

One of those is the team’s freshly remodeled locker room at the newly named Doctors Hospital Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University.

Armstrong caught a glimpse of it this summer on “Hard Knocks,” but he’s now seeing it up close and personal after rejoining the Dolphins this past weekend.

“A lot different, a lot different,” Armstrong said. “They did a lot of remodeling. Every time I saw it on TV, I thought it was the stadium for some reason.”

Armstrong, too, is a lot different now.

He’s no longer the promising young prospect who had yet to prove himself. He’s back in Miami having now shown he can produce as an NFL wide receiver.

Armstrong is coming off a disappointing 2011 season, but in 2010 he emerged as a bona fide deep threat. That’s what the Dolphins are hoping they got when they claimed him off waivers this weekend after Armstrong was released from Washington.

“Some of you guys probably know him better than I do, but he had good production the one year in Washington,” Head Coach Joe Philbin told reporters on Monday. “Of all the good things we heard about him, he’s supposed to be an extremely hard worker. He’s obviously very fast.”

Armstrong used that speed in 2010 to average 19.8 yards on 44 catches with the Redskins, putting together a per-reception average that ranked third in the NFL among all players with at least 20 catches.
That was Armstrong’s first year as a full-time NFL player.

He had spent all of the 2008 season on the Dolphins practice squad after being signed following a season in the Arena Football League and then took part in training camp the following summer before being waived in late August.

Armstrong spent the final two months of the 2009 season on Washington’s practice squad before finally getting his shot in 2010.

Despite seeing his reception total drop to only seven catches last year when he was hampered by injuries and a diminished role in the offense, Armstrong feels a lot better about his game than he did in his first stint in Miami.

“I’m confident in my skills just because I know I’ve improved over the past couple of years,” Armstrong said. “I’m not the same guy that left in ’09. I was able to get on the field in Washington. I’m just ready to come down and get on the field and be able to contribute and help the team win.”

It’s way too early to project what kind of role — and how big — Armstrong will play in the Dolphins in 2012, but one thing is clear: his speed is a welcome addition.

“I think that’s the attraction as much of anything,” said offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. “We heard a lot of positive things about Armstrong. (Redskins offensive coordinator) Kyle Shanahan and I worked in Houston together. (Redskins receivers coach Ike) Hilliard, who was here last year, talked about this young man in a very positive fashion and said he has a great work ethic, smart kid and very explosive.

“It’s evident that he’s explosive. He studied (Sunday) for about seven hours to get ready for practice, so he has a great work ethic. But the talents that he brings, the speed, he’s much like (Clyde) Gates as far as his speed goes, but I think the skill level, the ability to catch the ball, I’m hoping will be at a high level.”

Armstrong was in uniform last November when Washington came to Sun Life Stadium, but he didn’t catch a pass.

He admitted he was frustrated at not being able to show the Dolphins the mistake they had made in letting him go back in 2009.

Now, he’s getting a second chance to prove himself in a Miami uniform.

“Getting released, it basically humbled me,” Armstrong said. “I had to go out there and refocus and work hard again. I told myself I wasn’t going to get cut again. Unfortunately, it happened. But I’m confident in everything I put on tape up there in Washington those past two years. I knew I was a much better receiver and I’m glad Miami wanted me to come down here and help them out.”