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WT: "Kelly to be No. 2 receiver"

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Kelly to be No. 2 receiver

By Ryan O'Halloran

After some cajoling, Jim Zorn confirmed after practice Wednesday that Malcolm Kelly has supplanted Antwaan Randle El as the Washington Redskins' No. 2 receiver.

Zorn said if the Redskins start Sunday's game against the New York Giants in a multireceiver formation, which is likely, Kelly will join Santana Moss on the field.

Kelly had seven receptions for 69 yards in the preseason, flashing enough to distance himself from Randle El, who has held the No. 2 position since 2006, and fellow second-year receiver Devin Thomas.

"He's gone all training camp really improving along the way," Zorn said of Kelly. "His overall explosion off the line of scrimmage has been very good, and he's worked at trying to be the starting receiver. I can't tell you everybody stepped back and watched him go, but we're going to give him the opportunity to be out there and hit it."

Kelly was limited to five games and three catches last year and then underwent microfracture knee surgery in February. Although he was limited during the offseason, Kelly worked twice a day in training camp after overcoming a left hamstring injury in early August.

"He has a real presence. He can snag the ball out of the air with his hands - he's not a basket catcher," Zorn said. "There are still things he's improving on, and he's not near a ceiling at all. This is his starting point, and hopefully he'll jump right out and show he's a factor in a ballgame. ... This is what we've been waiting for. He's earned the right to get out there and mix it up."

Randle El likely still will see a lot of playing time. According to statistics-driven Web site Football Outsiders, the Redskins used three receivers on 56 percent of their snaps last year.

"You're going to think Antwaan Randle El is the starter as well because they're all going to be involved in the game plan," Zorn said.

How much Thomas will play is unclear because the Redskins figure to run more two-tight end and fewer four-receiver formations.

"I think Devin has dramatically improved as well from last year," Zorn said. "I would put him in the same situation as Malcolm; he's really starting fresh as well."

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