Shanahan breaks down the Raiders with B-Mitch
One byproduct of a Redskins’ offense that’s passing more this season has been the increased production of wide receiver Pierre Garçon.
Garçon has 280 yards on 23 receptions through three games, putting him on pace for 1,493 yards and 123 catches—both of which would signify career highs. By a lot.
In his five previous seasons, the closest Garçon has come to a 1,000 yard campaign was with the Colts in 2011, when he hauled in 70 passes for 947 yards. That breakout season earned him a five-year, $42.5 million deal with the Redskins.
And now that he’s healthy, the 27-year-old is getting a chance to prove himself.
“You never know for sure, but that’s what I was hoping for,” Coach Mike Shanahan told Brian Mitchell on Friday when asked if Garçon’s 2013 production is what had envisioned. “It didn’t take me long after the first quarter when he had over 100 yards against New Orleans [in 2012] to know that you got yourself a special player.”
Garçon currently is eighth in receiving yards, fifth in first downs gained and, according to ProFootballFocus.com, fourth in yards after the catch with 143. That ranks behind some pretty impressive names: Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas and DeSean Jackson.
“You can see that in practice,” Shanahan said of Garçon’s skill and determination. “Pierre is a competitor. He’s going to block and he’s going to catch. He’s into the game. He wants to win on every play. When he does catch the ball, he expects to go the distance. You can’t find many players like that. Knock on wood, we can him healthy.”
That’s been one key for Garçon, who missed six games last season with a foot injury and played in several others at less than 100-percent because of it. Since having surgery on his shoulder in the offseason, Garçon has been as healthy as he’s been since Week 1 last season.
“I think it’s a function of him being healthy and on the field,” offensive coordinator Key Shanahan said. “Last year he played through a lot of games where he wasn’t 100-percent. I think you guys could all see the games where he was 100-percent, some of the plays he’d make with the ball in his hands and the explosiveness he has when he gets the ball. He almost turns into a running back with how angry he runs. …Pierre is a big-time receiver and I believe he would have been the exact same last year if he would have stayed healthy.”
The other reason for the uptick in Garçon’s production has been the fact that the Redskins are throwing the ball more. Whether it’s because they’ve fallen behind early in games, Robert Griffin III’s knee or some combination of the two, there’s been more opportunity for Washington’s receivers. Griffin has attempted 49, 40 and 50 passes in the first three games; his season-high a year ago was 39.
“I don’t mind it,” Garçon joked, “as long as we complete them.”
Garçon is pleased with his start. But what he really wants is for the Redskins to earn their first win in Oakland on Sunday, then get on a roll after the bye.
“We’re getting better,” he said. “We ran the ball, we scored a touchdown in the first half [against the Lions]. We just didn’t finish drives and we didn’t win the game.”
Garçon added: “We have a lot of great players, a lot of athletes. We have a lot of talent, a lot of guys that can make players whenever they get the ball. It’s just a tough patch right now. We still have time to turn it around.”