Though it’s unwise to make sweeping inferences from a few offseason workouts, there were signs, as the Redskins wrapped up last week’s minicamp, that Pierre Garcon will be featured more prominently in the 2015 game plan as Coach Jay Gruden attempts to rally from his 4-12 debut as a rookie NFL head coach.
Gruden said more than once last season that he wanted to get Garcon more involved in the passing game. But it never really happened, whether as a result of free agent DeSean Jackson’s addition to the receiving corps, the revolving door at quarterback or the failure of Robert Griffin III to make timely, decisive reads.
When the Redskins got back to work this offseason, Garcon frequently lined up split out wide to the right of Griffin rather than in his customary spot to the quarterback’s left. According to wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard, it represented an attempt to diversify the offense and get players comfortable with other roles.
And both Hilliard and Gruden gushed about the work Garcon was putting in. Heading into his eighth NFL season, Garcon, who’ll turn 29 in August, didn’t miss a session of optional workouts or the mandatory minicamp.
After a #11 finish in PPR formats in 2013, Garcon was the #47 receiver last season. His targets dropped from 182 to 105, thanks to the addition of DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts in free agency. The team is expected to run the ball a bit more this season, so we're not expecting much of a bounce-back season for Garcon.
Thursday, June 4, 2015, 1:02pm
Redskins WR Pierre Garcon appears to have switched wide receiver positions and spent the bulk of the day playing the ‘Z’ rather than the ‘X.’ He used to line up on the left, and now is split out to the right. Coaches plan to make a greater point of getting Garcon the ball, and this is part of the plan. DeSean Jackson lined up at the ‘X’ today.
After a #11 finish in PPR formats in 2013, Garcon was the #47 receiver last season. His targets dropped from 182 to 105, thanks to the addition of DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts in free agency. The team is expected to run the ball a bit more this season, so we're not expecting a big bounce-back season for Garcon. If the team follows through with its plan to get him the ball more often, he could post WR3 numbers in PPR formats.
Redskins HC Jay Gruden discussed the drop in receptions for WR Pierre Garcon...
"I think we can get his numbers back up a little bit," Gruden said. "We missed him. With three quarterbacks playing, there was never any ideal situation, and that hurt all the receivers. Moving forward we get some stability at the quarterback position, you’ll see all the numbers go up for all the receivers hopefully. A lot of people would rather just hand it off, but I think, we need to spread it out and be diverse in what we do and get these guys these touches. These guys work extremely hard. For us not to give them opportunities to make plays down the field is silly."
Ideally, Garcon will be in the 70-80 catch range. If the Redskins are successful this season, it will be their run game that powers them. They are not a team that should drop back more than 30 times a game. However, they do have two good starting receivers and a third who is capable of 40 receptions, plus Reed who deserves his share of targets, too.
After a #11 finish in PPR formats in 2013, Garcon was the #47 receiver last season. His targets dropped from 182 to 105, thanks to the addition of DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts in free agency. The team is expected to run the ball a bit more this season, so we're not expecting a bounce-back season for Garcon.
Friday, December 5, 2014, 6:38pm
Redskins WR DeSean Jackson (shin, questionable) missed practice all week and is questionable for Week 14. The Redskins are out of the playoff race, so there’s no need to rush Jackson back other than to try to win a few games to save face. Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts and Jordan Reed would all get a bump if D-Jax can’t play. Washington plays in the early round of games on Sunday.
Thursday, December 4, 2014, 5:59pm
Redskins WR DeSean Jackson (shin) missed practice again Thursday. Jackson was reportedly “still limping” on the sideline at practice on Wednesday, which indicates that he’s not a good bet to be able to play through the injury. The Redskins are out of the playoff race, so there’s no need to rush Jackson back other than to try to win a few games to save face. Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts and Jordan Reed would all get a bump if D-Jax can’t play. Washington plays in the early round of games on Sunday.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 6:30pm
Redskins WR DeSean Jackson (shin) did not practice Wednesday. Jackson was reportedly “still limping” on the sideline at practice, which indicates that he’s not a good bet to be able to play through the injury. The Redskins are out of the playoff race, so there’s no need to rush Jackson back other than to try to win a few games to save face. Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts and Jordan Reed would all get a bump if D-Jax can’t play. Washington plays in the early round of games on Sunday.
Jackson was streaking down the left sideline past Colts cornerback Josh Gordy when he fell to the turf and immediately grabbed his right leg. Though Gordy was flagged for pass interference on the play, it did not appear as though Gordy was responsible for Jackson’s injury.
After a brief examination on the sideline, Jackson was taken by a cart to the locker room. Jackson actually missed a few plays earlier in the game because of the injury but he never returned after being carted off. Despite being in catchup-up mode, WRs like Pierre Garcon and Andre Roberts weren't really factors. TE Jordan Reed ended up hauling in nine catches for 123 and RB Roy Helu finished with a 4-61-1 receiving ilne.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014, 10:46am
Hankerson will play his first game this season on Sunday, after missing the first nine thanks to ACL surgery last December. Now that he’s back, the Redskins have seven receivers (unless they opt to release one of them to make room for nose tackle Barry Cofield’s return this week).
And that means someone will get less playing time. Clearly it won’t be any of the top three wideouts -- DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Andre Roberts. It's hard to imagine much changing with how they've been used and how many targets they receive. If Hankerson is comfortable in the offense, he provides the Redskins a receiver who can run routes from various positions and, at 6-foot-2, he's also their tallest. His blocking isn’t bad, either.
It could be -- and should be, if he’s right -- that Hankerson plays ahead of Santana Moss and even Ryan Grant. It’s hard to see how Aldrick Robinson would be active with Hankerson around if he couldn’t be without him on the roster.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 7:26pm
The 6-foot-2 Hankerson provides the receiving corps with needed size and a player who can help at multiple spots. They've used him inside and outside in the past and he improved as a blocker, which helped the run game. He's coming off a torn ACL and subsequent surgery and is in the last year of his contract. Hankerson, a 2011 third-round choice, has 81 receptions in his first three years combined, with six touchdowns. He caught 30 passes in 10 games before getting hurt last season.
With Hankerson, the Redskins have seven receivers. Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts have combined for 103 catches and are firmly entrenched. They also have rookie Ryan Grant, who has five catches; Aldrick Robinson, who has one catch, and Santana Moss, who has none. Though Robinson has been inactive recently, they want to keep him around, in part because of his speed.
Saturday, October 25, 2014, 10:45am
Redskins wide receiver Leonard Hankerson is getting close to returning to the lineup, but he remains a “long shot” to play Monday night in Dallas, Coach Jay Gruden said.
“We have not made that decision yet,” Gruden said, referring to Hankerson’s timeline. “We’ve got a logjam at wide receiver.”
Hankerson started the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list while he continued to rehabbed from major knee surgery. The 25-year-old returned to practice on Oct. 15, opening a three week window for the Redskins to decide whether to activate him, place him on season-ending injured reserve or release him.
Based on Gruden’s comments, the Redskins intend to eventually activate Hankerson and cut another player to make room for him on the 53-man roster. The only question is when.
Hankerson has something no other receiver on the roster possesses: height. At 6-2, he’s two-inches taller than any other player at his position. Offensive coordinator Sean McVay said it’s only a matter of time before Hankerson rejoins the lineup. The story also said Hankerson will need some reps. It remains to be seen what kind of role he'll have, as he'll at least be fourth on the depth chart behind DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Andre Roberts, but could see some red zone work if the Skins plan to take advantage of his height.
“I would guarantee Tampa, most likely, unless something happens between now and then,” Gruden told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday. “You’ve got a good bye week, you’ve got a couple weeks to make sure it’s ready. Obviously Robert is a quick healer. He works extremely hard in the training room. So the process could be sped up a little bit depending on how he feels.”
It’s highly unlikely that Griffin will play in Dallas on Monday night, and nearly as unlikely that he’d play on a short week in Minnesota the following Sunday.
Waiting until after the bye gives Griffin more than three more weeks not only to heal but also to prepare.
Once healthy, Griffin will return to a good situation that includes Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts and a now-healthy Jordan Reed. The Redskins are currently 14th in fantasy points generated from its passing game, and Griffin adds the extra dimension of being able to run the ball. Expect low-end QB1/high-end QB2 numbers upon his return. His playoff schedule is favorable with matchups against the Rams, Giants and Eagles from Week 14 to Week 16.
Saturday, October 11, 2014, 4:34pm
Without WR Andre Roberts this season, Arizona quarterbacks have completed 38 passes for 10 yards or less, and 31 have come outside the numbers, 19 in between the numbers and the hash marks, and five between the hash marks. Cardinals’ receivers are averaging 5.29 yards per catch on completions 10 yards of less.
Roberts' place in Arizona’s offense coming out 2012 was thought to be established. He had career highs in receptions (64), yards (759) and touchdowns (five). But after Bruce Arians took over in January 2013, Roberts saw his role as Arizona’s No. 2 receiver supplanted by Michael Floyd, and Roberts' numbers dropped to 43 receptions for 471 yards and two touchdowns.
He signed with Washington with the idea that he would be the Redskins’ No. 2 receiver, but after they signed DeSean Jackson, Roberts became a No. 3 again.
But as colleague John Keim, who covers the Redskins, pointed out this week, Roberts is getting targeted more this season (5.6 per game) than he did in 2013 (4.75).
The Cardinals’ overall passing offense also has declined without Roberts, but there is a caveat this season: Arizona has played three of its four games with backup quarterbacks.
The Cardinals’ completion percentage this season is 51.5 percent compared to 63.2 percent last season. Their drop percentage was better with Roberts (2.8) than without him (4.5), as was their yards per pass attempt (7.98 with vs. 6.9 without). Arizona is even averaging fewer touchdowns per game without Roberts (1.25) than with (1.5). John Brown is now the WR3 in Arizona and has got a lot of attention but it looks like the stats say the Cards miss Roberts. The difference between fantasy and reality perhaps. While Roberts is a risky fantasy play, Brown is trending upward as a possible option in deeper leagues. Brown has three TDs in just four games with backup QBs.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 7:09pm
Redskins WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder, questionable) took limited practice reps Wednesday. Jackson should play on Thursday night, but it’s a short week. Andre Roberts would be a Sneaky Start if D-Jax can’t play.
Jackson is considered day-to-day. If he's available Week 3, which happens to be against his former team, the Eagles, he'll have Kirk Cousins throwing him the ball as Robert Griffin III is out indefinitely with a dislocated ankle. If Jackson can't go, Andre Roberts likely gets the WR2 role and makes for a potentially sneaky start as the Eagles rank near the bottom in allowing fantasy points to WRs. Guys like Ryan Grant, Aldrick Robinson and Santana Moss now possibly pop up on the fantasy radar if Jackson can't go.
Washington HC Jay Gruden said today that he sees the Redskins relying on the ground game.
“Our identity needs to be found,” he said. “What are we going to be? We’re going to be a running team, I guess.”
Like any coach, Gruden would prefer to have a varied attack.
“Our identity needs to be diversity,” he said. “We have to be able to be good at both. We have to be able to run the ball, we have to be able to do some play actions off the run and there are going to be some times that we have to do some drop back.”
Gruden doesn't seemed thrilled about the label, though. Many assumed the Skins would pass more under Gruden, especially after bringing in WRs DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts. But Robert Griffin III is struggling and seemingly starting a QB controversy at the same time, while the running game, led by Alfred Morris, excels. This, perhaps, gives Morris a bit of a bump in fantasy value. Eventually the Skins will need the threat of a pass game or team's will stack the box. Morris is a rock-solid, high-end RB2 in just about any format, however.
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