The 2014 Redskins are loaded with storylines. Between now and the start of the first veteran minicamp on April 29, Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will examine 20 questions Washington faces as Jay Gruden pieces together the roster, finalizes his playbook and preps for his first season as a head coach in the NFL.
Can Pierre Garçon repeat his 2013 production?
Entering the 2013 season, it was unclear whether Pierre Garçon could produce like a No. 1 wide receiver. Over the next four months, however, Garçon squashed any doubt as he reeled in a single-season franchise record 113 passes (first in the NFL) for a career-best 1,346 yards and five touchdowns. At 27, Garçon’s in his prime years. And he’s playing for a strong-armed quarterback determined to have a bounce back season. There’s just one problem: will there be enough footballs to go around?
El-Bashir: I have a difficult time believing that Garçon will get enough passes thrown in his direction to allow him to reproduce the season he had in 2013. A year ago, he was targeted 184 times by the two Redskins’ quarterbacks. That was more than twice the number balls thrown at Santana Moss (80) and three times the total fired toward Jordan Reed (59). The arrival of DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts pretty much guarantees that Garçon will see a decline in targets. Which brings me to another—but related—topic. To me, one of Robert Griffin III’s biggest challenges this season will be ensuring that Garçon, Jackson, Roberts and Jordan Reed are happy. Roberts has already grumbled a bit about signing in Washington expecting to be a No. 2, not the No. 3 role that Jackson’s has forced him to accept. As long as the Redskins are winning, it should not be a problem. But what if the offense struggles out of the gate? Or there’s an early-season losing streak? Given the combustible personalities involved … watch out.
Tandler: Garçon was targeted 181 times last year, tied for the most in the NFL with Andre Johnson of the Texans. A variety of factors, including injuries to Leonard Hankerson and Reed and Josh Morgan being largely ineffective all year, contributed to Garçon getting that many passes thrown his way. It’s possible that similar circumstances will develop again this year but that certainly isn’t how the Redskins have it drawn up. Garçon should get the ball thrown his way plenty but Griffin will have to get it to Jackson, Robert, and Reed, among others. Fewer targets should mean fewer catches, although it should be noted that if Griffin’s completion percentage improves to where it was when in 2012 (65.6%) from where it was last year (60.1%), the dropoff in the number of passes Garçon catches could be less than the number of targets might suggest. Still, Jackson and Roberts are going to have to have some passes thrown their way. However, Garçon can stay very productive by taking advantage of the opportunities he does get and by drawing coverage away from the other receivers.
- April 10: Who from the draft class of 2011 will step up?
- April 11: Who will claim the punter position?
- April 12: What 2013 draft pick will emerge to play a key role?
- April 13: Will Brian Orakpo take the next step?
- April 14: Will Jordan Reed have a Pro Bowl season?
- April 15: Will the Haslett without handcuffs scheme work?
- April 16: Who will start on the offensive line?
- April 17: What will Jay Gruden’s offense look like?
- April 18: What effect will Jackson have on the rest of the receivers?
- April 19: How much better will the pass rush be with Jason Hatcher?
- April 20: Who will replace London Fletcher at inside linebacker?
- April 22: Who will return punts and kickoffs?
- April 22: Will special teams improve?
- April 23: Who will assume London Fletcher’s leadership role?
- April 24: Is there enough depth on the offensive line?
- April 25: Is David Amerson ready to start?
- Yesterday: Who will start at safety?
- Today: Can Pierre Garçon repeat his 2013 production?
- Tomorrow: Will DeSean Jackson boom or bust in DC?