Assuming he’s healthy now and stays that way — and, really, you could apply that proviso to any player — I have a great deal of confidence in Pierre Garçon. And when Garçon is in the lineup, the Redskins are hard to beat.
The numbers don’t lie. When Garçon suited up last season for the Redskins, the team went 9-2, including the playoff loss. Without him, they were 1-5. Call it whatever you like, but that’s no coincidence.
Where people tend to be confused about Garçon is his role in Shanahan’s offense. While his most memorable plays were his 88-yard run and catch on RG3’s first NFL touchdown against the Saints and the 59-yard Thanksgiving Day TD in Dallas in which he accelerated through and past the entire Cowboy secondary, Garçon isn’t a burner per se.
But for my money, he’s a possession receiver with the speed to get deep — a la Art Monk.
For the season — abbreviated though it was after suffering a lingering toe injury on the aforementioned opening-day touchdown — Garçon recorded 46 catches for 633 yards, which works out to 57.5 yards a game and a 14.4-yard average.
Even if you project his numbers over an entire season, you wind up with 67 catches for 920 yards — hardly eye-popping stuff in this day and age. But what those totals don’t tell you is that 25 of his catches — 54.3 percent — resulted in either a first down or a touchdown.
Fully 11.63 percent of every route he ran in 2012 either moved the chains or put points on the board. That ranked him No. 8 in the league behind guys like Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson and Wes Welker.
Simply put, in a very short period of time, Pierre has evolved into RG’s security blanket. And after playing together for an entire season, they should know each other even better in 2013.
Assuming both come back from their injuries, that is.
With the team’s blessing, one would hope, Garçon opted not to have surgery on his injured foot during the offseason, although he did have surgery on his shoulder. He was cleared earlier this summer to practice fully, and by all accounts, he enters training camp close to 100 percent.
Again, assuming he manages to stay out of the training room, I look for him to turn in a productive — if not statistically overwhelming — season. And for that to translate into W’s for the Redskins.