Point-Counterpoint: Debating the Redskins Pass Catchers
July 27, 2012 in NFL
By DC Staff Writer John Manuel & Steve Shoup:
JOHN – POINT:
Training camp starts this week and we have already looked at both the offensive and defensive lines. Now it is time to look at a more exciting position, the receivers. Recent seasons have seen solid play for the tight end position, but not as much from the wideouts.
Shanahan and Allen saw a need in the off season at wide receiver and added both Pierre Garcon (still need to figure out how to get that squiggly thing) and Josh Morgan. The last time the Skins spent big money on the position was when Gibbs and Cerrato brought in Antwan Randle-El and Brandon Lloyd. All must hope this situation has a better ending, but will it?
STEVE – COUNTERPOINT:
Well the good news is the Redskins aren't expecting either Garcon or Morgan to run backwards and be ineffective at returning punts (instead we keep Brandon Banks around to do that). Also unlike that situation under Gibbs, neither of the Redskins new receiver additions cost anything via trade or appears to be a head case. So right there I think the Redskins are ahead of the game this time. Even with Morgan not fully recovered from the injury, this has to have a better ending, but that doesn't mean I'm sure it will be the result the Redskins were looking for.
I liked the pickup of both, but feel Shanny looked at one stat and said these are the two guys we have to get, and that stat was yards after catch. YAC is important but not if you don't catch the ball first so I will have say to say I am in a complete wait and see mode on these two.
Barring injury setbacks I am more confident that Leonard Hankerson is a safer bet to be a legit starter than Morgan. It seemed in last year’s preseason and in the small playing time in the regular season he was getting open in those 10-15 yard routes. And not just open, he was guys not anywhere near him open. Hopefully he can continue off his success in the Miami game.
Garcon's contract has him starting but after that I do see a battle between Morgan, Hankerson and ole' Santana Moss. It's pretty scary to now be giving him the name ole'. Skinnier Santana you have to believe is coming to Ashburn to win his starting spot back, hopefully his stop before wasn't Dr. Galea's.
Unfortunately I'm pretty concerned about Hankerson and feel this could be a throwaway year for him. I think the Redskins will need to rely on Garcon, Moss and Morgan to handle the brunt of the receiver targets (which is actually typical for only the top three guys to be significantly involved). Hopefully I'm wrong about Hankerson and he can have an impact (particularly given his size versus the rest of the receivers), but I'm not going to hold my breath.
While I do think yards after the catch was a big factor on the signings, I still wonder if the Redskins made a smart move here, investing so much money? Garcon is getting $8 million+ (on average) and Morgan $6 million (on average), just to get a few more yards than Gaffney who was signed for $2 million +. I know the team needed to add some talent and speed, but this seems like a bit of an overpay.
It worries me as well. They got hurt when guys like Colston, Desean, Bowe, Wallace and Welker didn't hit the market as true free agents. After those four there should be a good battle between your Skins man crush Brandon Banks, Terrance Austin and Aldrick Robinson.
My guess if I was to be Shanny (minus the tan and the engaging personality) would be that he would love for Robinson to show something and win the job and I know you feel the same way. Sorry to try and speak for you. With kickoffs being less of a factor they would need to find a punt returner and I have no problem with Moss or D Hall going back there if Banks is gone and Robinson can't handle it. Either way I am thinking Banks has seen his last club fight as a member of the Skins come September 1.
That is kinda my issue, with no number 1 receivers (or even top 2's) willing to come to DC, why shell out so much for Garcon and Morgan? Signing a 2nd tier guy like Eddie Royal (who the Skins were interested in), would have saved some money both in the short and long term. That's obviously hindsight, but if we wonder why we don't have a CB/S who can cover this season, or a G/T to help protect our franchise QB, we should remember how much we spent on receivers.
As for rounding out the the receiving corps, I think the Redskins keep 6 guys total, leaving two spots up for grabs (potentially a 3rd in Hank does start the year on the PUP list). As you know I'm a big fan of Robinson's potential and think he can supplant Banks as the return man. For the other spot, I'd go with a bit more of a surprise pick in Anthony Armstrong. Though I'm not a big Armstrong fan due to his age, contract (FA after this season), and lack of potential, there are two factors that he has working for him. He's a willing and solid special teamer, who has value even if he's not a returner. Also, he does have some game experience which could help if Hankerson isn't 100%, and another receiver got nicked up.
Actually embarrassed for myself I slipped on Double A. Hopefully the coaches give him a better chance than I seem want to. It is crazy how he went from the great Shanahan find in 2010 to what seemed to be in his doghouse in 2011. Braylon Edwards is also still out there and I remember there were rumblings they were interested in him last season. Could he get in the mix as a vet minimum?
As for the tight ends we have some "potential" for a good mix for RG3. Fred Davis back from suspension and law school, and should be Griffin's main target with the uncertainty at wideout. Chris Cooley returns from injury and Niles Paul makes the transition to tight end. This isn't the Pats crew but should be a strength if Davis finds a good masking agent, Cooley stays healthy and Paul is the next Shannon Sharpe.
I know I may be asking a lot of these 3. Then again in 2013, Davis could be suspended or the new Lester Munson on ESPN, Cooley doing sports radio and Paul a full time special teamer. Which scenario is more likely?
I think what we saw last year is closer to the real Armstrong, which is why my expectations are low, but something is still better than nothing. I really can't see them going after a veteran option unless Hankerson is done for the season. Any back-up receivers the Skins have need to be able to play special teams, since you aren't going to ask much (maybe a few PR's for Moss like you said) of the top 4 guys.
As for TE, while there is hope there the questions are present for each option. In the end I think the Redskins should hope for the middle ground between those two options. Davis to show last year wasn't fluke and he is a good pass catching TE (Davis's blocking is the one thing Jammal Brown has going for him). Cooley to stay somewhat healthy and be a decent number 2 TE, who is a safety blanket for Griffin. And Paul showing some development and promise to take on a bigger role in the future.
The wide receiver and tight end positions will make preseasons games more watchable. It’s going to be interesting who can get good chemistry with RG3 quickly. He had two high draft choices at Baylor last season, so let’s hope our guys can step up and make plays.