August 19, 2019

Washington Redskins 2014 Season Preview Part III: Wide Receivers

All this week leading up to the Washington Redskins 2014 season opener against the Houston Texans on Sept. 7, District Sports Page is taking an in-depth look at the players that will make up the 53-man roster to start the season in a position-by-position breakdown.

Monday, Neal Dalal took a look at the Quarterback position.
Tuesday, Eric Hobeck examined the situation at running back.

This is the preview of the wide receiver corps.



Imagine the Redskins come onto the field and go five-wide with Michael Westbrook, Antwaan Randel El, Devin Thomas, Malcom Kelly, and Brandon Lloyd. It’s enough to give any fan the cold sweats.

However, at times last season, Washington’s anemic group of wide receivers was no less of a nightmare.

Too often in 2013, Pierre Garcon seemed to be the only WR on the field, with Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson, and Josh Morgan fading into the background.

Regardless of double-teams and underwhelming quarterback play by both Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, the overworked Garcon smashed the Redskins’s receiving record with 113 receptions on the way to 1,346 yards and five touchdowns. A beast in every sense of the word, Garcon has proven his detractors wrong by staking claim as the top dog on offence. His 2014 numbers will pale in comparison to 2013, but this will have very little to do with the return of Moss and Robinson.

With the signing of DeSean Jackson after his release from the Philadelphia Eagles following a season in which he set career highs in receptions (82) and yards (1,332), the Redskins added a true No. 2 to compliment Garcon.

The speedy Jackson is often misconstrued as a one-trick pony, a player capable of only stretching the field and not much else, but he is among the league’s most difficult to cover, whether it be a comeback route or quick slant. Not many can match Jackson’s ability to add yards after the catch.

His speed will open things up for Garcon and TE Jordan Reed, a second-year player looking to build upon a successful rookie campaign that saw him reel in 45 catches for 499 yards and three TDs in nine games, and because of this, Jackson could very easily find himself third on the team in receptions in 2014. His return to Philly in week three of the regular season will be “must-see TV”.

Jackson’s signing eclipsed the minor splash made by Andre Roberts’s arrival in the nation’s capital. The former Arizona Cardinal was penciled in as the No. 2 behind Garcon before the ink was dry on his contract, but now enters the year third on the depth chart, supplanting Moss. Roberts, who will also act as the team’s primary punt and kick returner, snagged 43 balls for 471 yards and two TDs in the desert last season. Thanks to a crowded receiver corps, don’t be surprised if those numbers remain the same or regress in 2014.

Entering his tenth season in burgundy and gold, Moss is solid, with reliable hands and above-average speed, meaning he will continue to make an impact — albeit small — as a third-down safety value for RG3. He will lose playing time to not only Roberts and Robinson, who has made strides in the offseason and seems to have shaken free from his label as a one-trick pony burner, flashing great hands and the ability to make the tough catch in traffic, but also rookie Ryan Grant.

Much like Reed in 2013, Grant has shown maturity beyond his years, praised for his terrific route-running and ridiculously reliable hands. The fifth-rounder entered camp as a sleeper but worked himself into the mix, surpassing both Moss and Robinson in the process. A possession slot receiver, Grant could see his numbers surpass Moss’s 2013 output of 42 receptions for 452 yards and two TDs.


Joe Mercer is a Contributor to District Sports Page. A communications specialist with a municipal government north of the border, Joe is an aspiring author with close to 20 years experience in the newspaper business, including covering the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts for a small daily newspaper in Barrie, Ontario. A Redskins fanatic since the early 80s, Joe has often made the 12-hour journey from his hometown north of Toronto to Washington for both training camp and regular season games. You can follow Joe on Twitter @stylesmcfresh.

About Joe Mercer

Joe Mercer is a Contributor to District Sports Page. Joe is an aspiring author with close to 20 years experience in the newspaper business, starting as a sports reporter covering the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts for a small daily newspaper in Barrie, Ontario. A Redskins fanatic since the early 80s, Joe has often made the 12-hour journey from his hometown 45 minutes north of Toronto to Washington for both training camp and regular season games. You can follow Joe on Twitter @stylesmcfresh.

Trackbacks

  1. […] position. In Part II, Eric Hobeck examined the situation at running back. In Part III, Joe Mercer previewed the wide receiver corps. In Part IV, Joe Ziegengeist evaluated the offensive […]

  2. […] position. In Part II, Eric Hobeck examined the situation at running back. In Part III, Joe Mercer previewed the wide receiver corps. In Part IV, Joe Ziegengeist evaluated the offensive line. In Part V, Joe Mercer reviewed Jordan […]

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