Washington Redskins 2012 Stats: #2 WR J. Leonard Morganson?

Jamie Squire

We have debated who should win the #2 WR spot. . . . .but why?

The off-season (what off-season?) is a time for change. A time to reflect on the previous season, identify strengths and weaknesses then try to build on them both. After the 2013 NFL Draft and the bulk of free agency has come and gone, the Redskins are left with the same exact question they were posed with last year at this time. Who will win the #2 WR spot? Leonard Hankerson or Josh Morgan? The debate that we had in 2012 has now spilled over into 2013 and with the varying opinions of many readers of Hogs Haven located in comments sections of many articles, I pose a new question: Why choose?

The battle lines have been drawn. The readers in Hankerson's camp typically point to his draft status with the Redskins, his size in comparison to the other wide receivers, and him entering his third season which is commonly referred to as a "boom" season for receivers as reasons why he should win the #2 WR spot. The readers in Morgan's camp point to his contract, his experience, and him being a local product from Virginia Tech as reasons why he is the man for the job. What do we really lose if neither player wins the job outright? Anything? While it's not "sexy" for a starting position to not have a definitive starter, from a production standpoint, we basically lose nothing. Would you rather see a Victor Cruz on the Redskins? An Eric Decker, perhaps? Maybe even a Michael Crabtree? Essentially, we already do.

2012 Stats

Player Name


Catches


Yards


Avg. Yards per Catch


Avg. Yards per Game


TDs


V. Cruz

86

1,092

12.7

68.2

10

M. Crabtree

85

1,105

13.0

69.1

9

E. Decker

85

1,064

12.5

66.5

13

Hankerson/Morgan


86


1,053


12.4


65.8


5



Aside from touchdowns, our #2 WR spot has produced relatively the same numbers as a Giants Pro Bowl WR, Peyton Manning's security blanket, and the 49ers #1 WR. Is a timeshare at wide receiver ideal? No. Is it a terrible situation though? Absolutely not.

It's 2013 and this isn't your father's football anymore. With situational pass rushers, nickel cornerbacks, running back committees, "joker" TEs, and linebackers that come off the field on passing downs, there are more part-time players than ever. Is the #2 WR spot so important that it can't work there too? They say if you have two quarterbacks then you have none. Is it the same here? It doesn't apply when a team runs a two-back system, does it? How many teams in the NFL can have a starting wide receiver go down with injury and have someone step-up with little-to-no drop off? Speaking of injury, could splitting snaps actually be a benefit? I'm not saying either player is injury-prone but with Hankerson (hip) still looking slow in and out of his breaks and Morgan (leg) lacking his usual yards-after-catch explosiveness, both players have yet to reach pre-injury form. Could it even be a strategic advantage? Over the course of a game, a cornerback can start identifying a receivers tendencies. Whether its a deep route, short route, or intermediate, out route, in route or comeback, a good CB can pick up on keys that give away a WRs gameplan. Even though our WRs coach teaches the same route tree to everyone, no two players run routes the same way. Therefore, it can be a lot more difficult to get a read on things when you are constantly lining up against alternating receivers.

So like the Redskins name change or Robert Griffin III's wedding registry, this is a topic that will get plenty of talk throughout the rest of the off-season but one where both sides may be right. I may have strayed off-topic a bit with the injuries and the possible strategic benefits, but the numbers clearly show that, with the possible explosive additions of Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson, if we get the same production from the #2 WR spot as we got in 2012, no matter who is there, our offense will be in good shape.
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