Reading the tea leaves on Garçon

Reading the tea leaves on Garçon
November 15, 2012, 2:45 pm
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Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon (88) against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

(Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE 9/9/2012 12:09:11 PM)

Ever since wide receiver Pierre Garçon was essentially shut down following the Redskins’ Week 5 game against the Falcons the thinking around Redskins Park has been that Pierre Garçon would return from his toe sometime between this upcoming game with the Eagles and the Monday night game against the Giants on Dec. 3.

As this week has unfolded, the consensus has been shifting towards Garçon returning sooner rather than later. There were some indications that the Redskins plan on playing their prize offseason free agent acquisition on Sunday.

For one thing, he seemed to be practicing harder than he has been. When he has been out there in recent weeks he has either been a spectator during the portion of practice that we can watch or running pass patterns without the sudden stops and cuts that are needed to play wide receiver in an actual game.

Things have been different this week. Garçon has been planting his foot and running patterns at something close to full speed.

“That’s a big plus because he hasn’t been doing that for a long time,” said Mike Shanahan on Garçon’s practices.

On Monday when asked if he would play against the Eagles, Garçon said the decision was up to the coach. Shanahan, as is his usual practice when talking about players coming back from an injury, would not say any definitive.

But Robert Griffin III may have let something regarding the receiver’s status slip. When asked if it looked like Garçon would be ready to play, Griffin first cautioned that he wasn’t the coach so it wasn’t his decision. But he continued in a vein that seemed to be telling.

“It will be good to have him back,” he said. “He’s looked good. Like I told him, we’re going to have many great seasons, many great games together. We might as well go ahead and start it now.”

Note the lack of “if” or other qualifiers in his statement.

The quarterback thinks that he and Garçon will pick up the chemistry they had going during the preseason and for the early phases of the season opener in New Orleans.

“The whole week we’ll work on our timing—getting that back,” said Griffin. “I threw to him all offseason, so it’s just a matter of getting that channeled back in. I think we’ll be able to do that.”

Even if he does play, that does not mean that Garçon is as good as new. He said that the toe was not 100 percent and that “it’s a pain all the time.”

“By no means is he 100 percent,” said Kyle Shanahan.

However, that doesn’t mean he will stay sidelined. “He does not have to be 100 percent to play,” said the offensive coordinator. “He still did some things in those games he played in that helped by just having him out there.

“We wanted to get him to 100 percent but now we’re not sure if he’ll get there and we’d definitely rather have him out here (at less that full capacity) than not at all because he can help regardless of where he is (in his rehab).”

Despite the way things look right now, there is no guarantee that the Garçon will suit up and play on Sunday. There could be a setback or they could decide that the toe isn’t quite ready to go. I am not much of one for giving fantasy advice but I would keep him on the bench unless you are out of alternatives.

But do not be surprised if Garçon ends up playing.