Assuming the Redskins increase their targets to 500, here is how I see them being broken down by position. I will show a slight increase in non-targeted throws to 3% up from 2.2%. That will leave 485 throws to be distributed among the Redskins various weapons.
-I see the Receivers percentage dropping. They will still be the favorite target by far, but I think the Redskins want to exploit some more potential mismatches with tight ends and backs.
-Garcon will see his targets go up some as he’s healthier, but I don’t think they will sky rocket. The Redskins just spread the ball around too much, and Garcon may see his snaps limited slightly, especially if the foot injury is still nagging.
-Morgan may end up starting and being the possession receiver, but his targets will probably be the lowest of the top four. I also think he ends up splitting time with Hankerson.
-Moss was so effective on a per snap and per target basis for the Redskins last year, that I think they will look to further expand his role some this year. He may not play as much as some of the other receivers, but when he is on the field, I’d expect him to be the primary or secondary option on most passing plays.
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-Hankerson is a guy who really was on par in terms of per target production with Moss and Garcon last year, and could be in line for a bit of a “breakout” season. Unfortunately he’s going to have to share targets which will keep the raw numbers down, but he should at least make his presence more readily felt this year.
-Robinson draws the short straw, but the Redskins will likely try to utilize him a little throughout the season. He has big time speed and could get a few targets on deep routes, and in other occasions be used as a decoy to hopefully draw safety help to one side. His targets though should go down with a healthier Garcon and the Redskins looking to spread the ball out more.
-With a healthier Fred Davis, rookie Jordan Reed added to the mix and Logan Paulsen showing himself as a respectable pass catcher the tight end targets should definitely go up this year. It will be tough splitting them up though because you can make a case for all of them to have fairly significant totals. The other interesting thing is that under Mike Shanahan we’ve seen a pretty big distinction between the starting tight end and the back-ups. The starting TE gets the vast majority of all TE targets, with the back-ups only getting even moderate targets if there is an injury (or suspension) to the starter. Can the Redskins though justify to keep doing that given the resources in the TE position is the big question.
-Davis is coming back from a mid-season Achilles injury, which means it’s next to impossible that he’d be 100% this year. Even if he doesn’t miss any full games, he’ll likely be limited in his number of snaps. Davis should still see his fair share, and likely the majority of targets, but it won’t be the monopoly it was in the past.
-Paulsen might not have the speed, agility or quickness of Fred Davis, but last year he proved he could be a solid fill in for him and handle himself as a receiver. He averaged 12.3 yards per catch, and 4.6 yards after the catch average, fairly comparable numbers to Davis’s 13.5 and 5.7 numbers. Paulsen is also going to earn some playing time due to his blocking ability, so he will be on the field a fair amount. I think between Davis’s injury and how raw rookie Jordan Reed is, Paulsen will carve out a nice niche for himself.
-Reed definitely has a lot of promise, but he’s a one dimensional TE that will likely keep his snap count and targets down somewhat. The Redskins aren’t going to ask him to do too much inline blocking, which will limit his opportunities. I still think though the team will try to utilize him some for mismatches and work to get him a share of targets.
-I know many would probably like to see these targets distributed to the other tight ends, but the reality is the team shouldn’t forget about Niles Paul. His blocking and ability to line-up at a number of positions can help him get on the field, also I doubt the team will ignore some of the big plays that he made. Paul had 5 catches last year of 20 or more yards, and of his eight catches averaged 19 yards per catch. He averaged eight yards after the catch, which is the highest of any receiver or tight end. While it is all very much a small sample size, they were very promising numbers for a young developmental player. He will likely get some looks this year to see what he can be going forward.
-I’d love to think that with a healthier Helu, a year of Morris learning how to be more of a receiver, wanting to utilize Darrel Young more and the potential for rookie Chris Thompson this number would be much higher, but realistically it probably won’t jump too high this year. There are enough question marks with these guys, the team also simply has too many other weapons. Running backs are also likely to be utilized more for fakes and blocking roles with the Redskins than some other teams.
-Helu’s health is a big question mark and part of the reason why his targets aren’t higher. His playing time may take a big hit because Morris is the unquestionable primary back and both rookies should eat into his back-up and third down duties. Helu will probably be the best pass protector of the running backs which could keep him from going out on as many routes. He should still be targeted a fair number of times though, especially based on his total snaps.
-Morris will be on the field the vast majority of the time which will help him get some targets (though he’s likely to be part of the play fake quite a bit), but unless he shows more as a receiver his targets shouldn’t be too high. Subbing him out more this year though is likely to occur, not just in an effort to get a better blocker/receiver on the field, but to help keep him fresh as well.
-It’s tough to know what to make of Thompson. Sure he’s a late round pick, but you can’t ignore that speed and game breaking ability. The Redskins might try to create a package of plays to utilize those talents. While some of that will of course involve him running the football, Thompson should get some receiving looks as well.
-Jamison could challenge for the back-up running back role some this year which will mean he’s likely to see a couple targets.
-Young I think could be the big beneficiary here among the backs. He has been so impressive catching the football these past two years that the Redskins would be crazy to not try to utilize him more often. Linebackers have had a really tough time covering him out of the backfield and it has led to a number of first downs and big plays.