After injuries to Redskins receivers, it's 'next man up'
One of the bright spots in the Redskins’ underachieving season continues to be the performance of Pierre Garçon.
The wide receiver has been reliable, consistent and, on occasion, spectacular, despite the team’s 3-7 record. In fact, Garçon could achieve a few personal milestones in the coming weeks and rewrite portions of the franchise’s record book before the 2013 campaign is completed.
With four catches Monday night against the 49ers, the 27-year-old will have 71, establishing a career-high for receptions. He notched 70 in 2011 with the Colts.
With 77 more yards, Garçon will break his single-season high (also established in ’11) and with 129 more, he’ll reach 1,000 for the first time in his six NFL seasons.
“For me, yeah it’s cool,” Garçon said as he walked off the practice field at Redskins Park on Friday. “I still feel like I left a lot of yards out there. But you can’t complain when you’re helping the team win or just helping the team in general.”
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The big personal milestone for Garçon is the 1,000-yard plateau. If he gets there, he’ll be the 27th Redskin to reach the mark and the first since Santana Moss notched 1,115 yards in 2010. (Moss actually has the last three 1,000-yard receiving seasons in Washington, getting there in ’05, ’08 and ’10).
“It makes you feel good because you know you worked hard for it in the offseason, prepared well for it and things are falling into place,” Garçon said.
Garçon’s numbers also compare favorably to the rest of the league this season. Entering this weekend’s games, he ranks third in yards after the catch with 445 (behind Denver’s Demaryius Thomas and New Orleans’ Pierre Thomas), third in receptions with 67 and ninth in receiving yards with 871.
“He’s meeting our expectations,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said, asked last week about signing Garçon to a five-year, $42.5 million contract in March 2012. “We knew we needed a No. 1 receiver and we thought we needed to do it through free agency. It’s tough to get a No. 1 receiver when you don’t have a first-round pick. You take shots on guys later and you hope you can develop them and get them ready. But we knew we had to go out and get a guy. There were a few choices that year and we thought Pierre was the best one.”
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Shanahan added: “He was our No. 1 choice. He’s definitely been our No. 1 receiver. I thought he was last year when he was healthy. I thought he played at this level; he just wasn’t healthy as much. He’s been out there consistently [this season] so I think everyone has been able to see it and notice it more because he’s done it every week.”
If Garçon remains on his current pace of 107 catches and 1,394 yards, he could end up with the most receptions in franchise history (Art Monk, 106 in 1984) and among the top three or four in receiving yards.
“I’m happy with the way things are going,” Garçon said. “When you have some success, you have to be happy about that. But after that, you expect to keep having good years and continue to get better.”