Redskins’ Jabar Gaffney Shows Up In Close Loss To Cowboys

The premise–and promise–of Redskins Hog Heaven’s support of Rex Grossman and John Beck as Washington Redskins quarterback was that the team would be competitive with them under center. Grossman’s performance against Dallas (25/38, 290 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 95.2 rating) was the first competitive performance in five weeks from the position.

If the Redskins scored 24 points every game this season, they would be 7-3 instead of 3-7.

Where did that performance come from? Washington’s veteran receivers stepped up. None did so more than Jabar Gaffney who caught seven of the 10 passes targeted to him. Gaffney led all receivers with 115 yards and a score. Donte Stallworth scored while catching four of the six balls targeted to him. Fred Davis was six for seven of his targets and for once was not Washington’s leading receiver.

A team has a problem if the tight end is the leading receiver. As happy as we all are with Fred Davis’ performance, he should be third on the list of leading receivers with two wide-outs topping the chart. Gaffney is closing the gap, trailing Davis by 43 yards for the season. After yesterday, Gaffney is Washington’s leading scorer—with a sickly three touchdowns.

The benchmark for wide receivers is 6-7-8 // 9-10-11. The No. 2 receiver should deliver 60 catches for seven touchdowns. The No. 1 receiver should be around 90 receptions for 10 touchdowns and 1,100 yards. The tight end’s stats should hover around the No. 2 receiver for a well-balanced passing offense.

Chris Cooley has been the Redskins’ No. 2 receiver in recent seasons. Davis is the leading receiver. Gaffney has neither caught for more than 875 yards nor more than five touchdowns in any season. He has to average seven passes and a score in the remaining games to reach the benchmark for No, 1 receiver. I hope he makes it.

No Choice

Why is Tashard Choice on the roster? Mike Shanahan mumbled something about “best chance to win” when Washington claimed Choice off waivers. Choice’s performance has steadily declined since 2009 with Dallas. Then, he averaged 5.5 yards per carry on 64 attempts. This year, as he fought through injuries, he averaged 2.7 yards on 28 carries.

His debut in Washington was not impressive. Choice had a nine-yard run, but finished the day with seven yards on six carries. One game is not a trend. Six carries is too small a sample to make conclusions. But, signing a Cowboys backbencher who never cracked the starting line-up does not inspire confidence that the running game will improve. Signing a Dallas player a few weeks before the Dallas game leads to other conclusions.

The damning thought about signing Choice is that he is stealing carries from Evan Royster. Does Shanahan think Royster has a future here? If so, the coach should use a year like this to develop Royster with live carries and pass blocking in real games. If not, then the Redskins wasted a Draft pick on Royster and they should release him.

The coaches see Royster in practice. We do not. Perhaps he is not developing well. If Choice were on the roster next training camp, I would take it as bad news for homeboy.

DeAngelo grows up, sorta

Dallas II ended as Dallas I did, with Dez Bryant making DeAngelo Hall look silly in coverage. I liked Hall’s post-game reaction better this time than after the last game. In September, Hall blamed the play called when he took a bad angle on Bryant to allow him to convert a third and 21 play at a critical point in the game. Now, Bryant beat Hall with a 26 yard reception on third and 15 in overtime to set up Dallas’ winning field goal.

Hall said after the game that the Redskins should cut him for his coverage on that play. That is another over-the-top statement by Hall, but at least this time he pointed his finger at himself rather than others. That’s a sign of growth. That says that Hall might be motivated to improve more.

The fact is that football is still a team sport. As in game one, Washington’s pass rush failed to shut down Tony Romo in third and long at the critical point in the game. If Hall took a bad angle on Bryant for the completion, he kept him from scoring a touchdown. Washington had two other plays to try to strip the ball from Dallas. There was small chance of that, but it was a chance. It’s not all about Hall who, in the absence of Carlos Rogers, is the best cornerback on the team.

Each game is a new day. Go forth and win the next battle, D.Hall.  

Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.

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