When Jabar Gaffney came to the Burgundy and Gold, I for one, was ecstatic. I loved watching Gaffney in Denver, and I knew the talent and experience was something the Redskins receiver corps needed desperately. His impact, however, would be greatly underestimated due to his inconsistent history.
The Road to Redskin:
Jabar Gaffney played his college ball as a Florida Gator (1999-2001), posting 138 receptions for 2,375 yards and twenty-seven touchdowns in only two seasons.
Gaffney was drafted by the Texans in 2002. Due to inconsistent play, and in favor of other receivers like Corey Bradford, Houston released Gaffney in 2005. He was signed for a 1-year contract with Philadelphia in 2006 but was let go before the start of the regular season. In October of the same year, New England signed Gaffney to a two-year contract. Gaffney began to come out of his shell in 2007. During his first-ever playoff game, Gaffney caught 8 passes for 104 yards against the New York Jets. Gaffney signed a 4-year contract with the Denver Broncos in 2009. Gaffney would not finish his four years, being traded (DE Jeremy Jarmon) to wear the Burgundy and Gold in 2011.
With TE Chris Cooley, WR Santana Moss, and TE Fred Davis all missing play during the 2011 season, Jabar has really begun to shine.
This season, Gaffney needs only 33 more yards and a touchdown to match his career highs in those areas. The consistency that Jabar plays with is uncanny. He is one of only 3 offensive players that has started every game this season, and leads the Redskins receiver corps with 842 yards, 14.5 ypc, and 4 touchdowns. Only the suspended Fred Davis has more receptions (1).
Gaffney cannot be considered a valid deep threat or endzone fade kind of guy. He's not the fastest guy in the world. Where his talent lies, is his ability to locate holes in the opposing secondary, the ability to read a defense. He has become a favorite target for QB Rex Grossman:
"Jabar has been healthy and he has been a consistent route runner, consistent catching the ball," quarterback Rex Grossman said. "That’s all you can ask for. He has a lot of talent. He’s a big receiver who knows exactly where to sit in zones. We’re on the same page." - Redskins.com
With the inevitable draft of a rookie QB in April, Jabar's experience cannot go without notice. It is his, WR Santana Moss, and veteran TE Chris Cooley's insight and veteran abilities that will enable a young QB to thrive. Fred Davis will likely be another top receiver for the Redskins, given his issues can be resolved by the start of next season.
The Grossman Bond:
Gaffney, at age 31, seems to have become one of my personal favorites on the field. He has only shown signs of getting better, and has yet to hit any sort of age wall. With two games left and only 158 yards to go, Gaffney could very well reach his first 1,000 yard season.
"That would be great -- my first 1,000-yard season comes back with Rex," Gaffney mused. "We’re on the same page, he looks for me, and that was one of my personal goals when I came here this season. It would be nice if I can finally do it." - Redskins.com
Gaffney and Rex have a bond that goes back to Florida. In only two years at Florida, Gaffney posted 14 games with more than 100 yards from Rex Grossman passes.
Ever since Florida, Jabar has been my guy," Grossman said. "He’s a very smart football player. Kyle [Shanahan] has done a good job of using those skills and getting him open." - Redskins.com
I love watching him play, and I am happy that he is under contract for another year. I hope he can build on this season, and get a few good years before he starts to decline. Drive on, Jabar.
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