Mike Shanahan on RG3 and Alfred Morris with Brian Mitchell
By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler
Countdown to kickoff question 3: Can Pierre Garçon be a 1,000-yard receiver.
Robert Griffin III is back. So is Brian Orakpo. In all, the Redskins retained 21 of the 22 starters who led them to the NFC East title in 2012. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any potential pitfalls as the new season approaches – because there are. Over the next week, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will identify and examine seven areas of concern going forward.
One remarkable aspect of Robert Griffin III record-breaking rookie season was that he accomplished it without a bell cow at the wide receiver position. The players with the skills to be that receiver (and the commensurate paycheck) is Pierre Garçon. He led the team with 633 receiving yards last year despite missing six games with a toe injury. Can he become the guy who draws coverage away from the other receivers, the one who is the go-to guy in critical situations? Can Garçon be a 1,000-yard (or even 1,200- or 1.400-yard) receiver?
Tandler: Garçon averaged just over 63 yards per game in the 10 he played in last year and if you project that out over 16 games it comes to just over 1,000 yards. So, the short answer is yes, he can be a 1,000-yard receiver if he stays healthy and plays in 16 games. But can he be the type of receiver who makes the others around him better by becoming the object of extra attention by the defense? It seems doubtful that he can do that to the extent that, say, Calvin Johnson or Brandon Marshall can. He just doesn’t scare defenses to that extent. But if he makes big plays like the catch and run against the Cowboys and clutch catches like the one from Kirk Cousins that tied the Ravens game he certainly could loosen up coverage on Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson and Santana Moss.
El-Bashir: As Rich said, Garçon likely would have surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau in 2012 had he been healthy for 16 games. Right now he is. For the first time since the first quarter of last season, Garçon’s foot, in his own words, is “100-percent.” His surgically repaired shoulder isn’t a hindrance, either. If Garçon remains healthy and Robert Griffin III is asked to throw more, as many expect, I think the 27-year-old will have the opportunity to amass 75 receptions, 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns. Last season, he also proved to be sure-handed, ranking 12th in percentage of passes caught (receptions divided by targets) with a mark of 69.8-percent, according to ProFootballFocus.com. One area Garçon will look to improve is penalties. The fiery wide out was assessed four of them (for 48 yards) last season, including fouls for unnecessary roughness and taunting. That's a minor issue that he easily can clean up. It also shouldn't obscure the most important stat of them all: When Garçon suited up last season the Redskins went 9-1 in the regular season. Coincidence? I doubt it.
Countdown to Kickoff
- Question 7: Is offensive line depth a concern?
- Question 6: Are the Redskins better at safety with Rambo and Meriweather?
- Question 5: Can defenses stop the Redskins’ read option
- Question 4: Can Orakpo help make the Redskins pass rush a disruptive force?
- Question 2 tomorrow: Will the Redskins use RG3 differently?
- Question 1 Monday: Is RG3 100 percent?