RICHMOND—Jay Gruden’s Cincinnati Bengals led the NFL in pass attempts that traveled more than 20 yards in the air last year. If you are going to run an offense like that you had better have some speed in your receiving corps. And the Redskins, for the first time in a long time, have some speed to burn.
“We are very definitely built for speed, especially at receiver,” said quarterback Robert Griffin III. “I was looking at this in the offseason and I think our top six receivers coming out ran 4.4 or better. So we have a track team out there, that sounds real similar to something I’ve had before.”
Griffin is referring to the group of receivers he had when he won the Heisman Trophy at Baylor. Receivers Kendalll Wright, Terrance Williams, and Tevin Reece all had more than 50 receptions and averaged over 15 yards per catch.
The Redskins aren’t likely to put up video game numbers like those in the NFL. And the talk of six receivers with 4.4 speed in the 40 is a bit misleading. Yes, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, Andre Roberts, Aldrick Robinson, Santana Moss, and Leonard Hankers all ran around 4.4 seconds or less at the combine. But Hankerson is injured, rehabbing a knee injury. Moss is still quick and he knows how to get open but I’m not sure he would clock a 4.4 if you put a stopwatch to him today. And Ryan Grant, who ran a 4.62 at the combine, will almost certainly be a part of the receiver corps.
Still, Roberts and, especially, Jackson have added some speed to the receiver corps and Gruden and Griffin are likely to take advantage of it. But Griffin may not throw deep as often as Andy Dalton of the Bengals did last year. He may rely a lot on throwing shorter passes and letting the receivers pick up yards after the catch.
“You want to get the guys’ hands on the ball in space, we have guys that are great,” said Griffin. “Dre’s [Roberts] been great in space, contributing to his punt return skills back in college. DeSean is great in space. Pierre, believe it or not, is unbelievable in space. Everyone knows, you better watch out, he will run you over.”