desean to dc

Can the Redskins win with an “average” offense? Part III: 3 Wide Receivers

For the first time in 10 or 20 years, the Redskins have a rising corps of receivers attuned to 21st Century football. Jay Gruden and Sean McVeay should be fired on the spot if they cannot invent mismatches with the Redskins’ 2014 receiving corps. But, we are getting ahead of ourselves.

The Redskins were prudent by signing WR Andre Roberts. Prudent, but unexciting.

Then Washington fell into luck so blind that it was dumb and stupid, too.

DeSean Jackson appeared at our doorstep like a baby in a basket abandoned by his Mama. With Pierre Garcon, and Roberts, the Redskins potentially have the 1-2-3 punch at wide out that has been missing since the Super Bowl Years.   The three are an order of magnitude better than the next three receivers on the depth chart, Aldrick Robinson, Leonard Hankerson and beloved Santana Moss.

However, we don’t see that in Garcon’s, Jackson’s and Roberts’ average stats per season.

PLAYER SEASONS Ave REC Ave TAR RATE Ave YDS AVE/REC Ave TDs Ave FD
Garcon

6

57

100

57%

750

13

4

34

Jackson

6

59

108

54.6%

1019

17.2

5

41

Roberts

4

46

84

54.8%

531

11.7

3

25

SUM

 

162

292

55.5%

2300

14.2

11

100

Meh! The Redskins won’t win anything if their top three wide receivers perform to their career averages. If we expect RGIII to complete 60 percent of his passes, at least two of these guys must catch over 60 percent of the balls thrown to them.

But there is good news. The “averages” are misleading. They are a performance floor. This group has a lot of upside seen more on video than in stats.

Garcon was never going to be the lead receiver with the Colts with Reggie Wayne. He lost six games to injury in his first year in Washington. Both issues lowered his season average.

Neither he nor Jackson will duplicate their 2013 performance. They don’t need to. Garcon’s average per game is more encouraging. On a per game basis, Garcon’s 2014 performance projects to 856 yards and 14 scores. (!!!)

The Eagles released Jackson for football reasons. DJAX has his own way of thinking, but we don’t buy the gossip.

Whatever Chip Kelly has in mind for the Eagles’ offense, it made Jackson a luxury for Philadelphia. He may come to regret it. Washington is not questioning the windfall.

Jackson will step back from his 2013 performance. His career average performance is less than the ideal of 90 receptions, 10 touchdowns, and 1,100 yards for a top-tier, No. 1 receiver.  It is better than what the Redskins have seen from their second best wide receivers since Rod Gardner.

Andre Roberts found himself caught in Arizona’s coaching change. Ken Whisenhunt never found a real replacement for Kurt Warner. Cardinals’ receivers suffered for it. Bruce Arians preferred Michael Floyd to Roberts.

Brandon Lloyd joined The Redskins with similar hype. The ‘Skins hope for better from Roberts than we got from Blloyd. Roberts need only deliver a modest boost in his career average for a Ricky Sanders-like 60 receptions for 700 yards and four or five scores. The technical term is, “piece of cake.”

Meanwhile, at tight end…

Hog Heaven has a problem when a team’s second-leading receiver is a position other than a wide receiver. Tight ends, even of Chris Cooley’s caliber, or a back like Ladell Betts and Larry Centers do not cut it for a 21st Century offense.

Receiving yards have to come from multiple wide receivers. That intimidates defenses to pull a pass rushing linebacker for an extra DB in nickel or dime packages. One less pass rushing linebacker is helps the Redskins’ offensive line.

Linebackers cover tight ends or backs running in a pass pattern. Defenses might fool you by covering a TE with a safety in order to blitz the linebacker. The defense holds the advantage when that linebacker is on the field.

In a passing situation, our offense has to force a linebacker off the field and they have to do it with scheme.

Jordan Reed’s performance will be icing on the cake if he proves durable, which he has yet to do. He was injured when we drafted him. Then he made a poor choice about a concussion that led to a more serious concussion injury that cost him (and us) the season.

The Redskins need the Reed to beat linebackers in coverage whether the ‘Skins are in three-wide sets or not. He is very good at it, but he cannot do that from the bench.

Games are not played on paper. They are played on television.

Next, Tying the averages all together for the win.

Earlier posts in this series:

Part I: Winning with an “average” Robert Griffin III.

Part II: Winning with an “average” Alfred Morris.

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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