2013 was a year of regression for the Washington Redskins. Griffin threw more interceptions, the offensive line couldn’t stop any pass rushers, and the defense just seemed to disappear. A group that did not receive as much attention was the receiving corps. By all accounts this is a group that should have greatly improved. There were no big losses, and Garcon was healthy all year. Continuity is extremely helpful in football. However, these players failed to make an impact on game day. Some of these issues can be attributed to poor QB play, but the Redskins were throwing the ball so much that their numbers should have been inflated. Good players find a way to make plays, and the Redskins receivers often failed to do that. Instead of listing total stats, I am going to list the difference between 2012 and 2013, so +12 means twelve more catches in 2013, while -12 means twelve less.
Pierre Garcon: Catches +69, Yards +713, TDs +1
The one outlier is, of course, Pierre Garcon. Garcon had a banner year, easily surpassing his career best in both catches and yards. Garcon was the only player that could routinely gain separation, often with the best cornerback on the opposing team covering him. At many times, the only Redskins passing option was to force the ball to Garcon, and he stepped up to the challenge. In 2012, the great run of play coincided with Garcon’s return. If he can maintain this level of play, Garcon will be invaluable to the Redskins in 2014.
Santana Moss: Catches +1, Yards -121, TDs -6
Santana Moss has had a long career with the Redskins, and in 2012 provided veteran savvy, often serving as a safety valve for a scrambling Griffin. However, Father Time is undefeated and this year really showed the decline in Moss’s athleticism. Moss averaged three yards less per reception in 2013. His yards after catch dropped about the same amount. Moss was invaluable as a red zone target in 2012, but the stalling offense, combined with his age, lead to a dramatic decrease in touchdowns, from 8 to 2. It is unlikely the Redskins retain Moss, and he might have some value to a competitive team looking for a slot receiver.
Joshua Morgan: Catches -28, Yards -296, TDs -2
Leonard Hankerson: Catches -8, Yards -168, TDs no change
Aldrick Robinson: Catches +7, Yards +128, TDs -1
Here is where things get interesting. The Redskins have a logjam at the number two receiver spot. In 2012, Joshua Morgan, Leonard Hankerson, and Aldrick Robinson all showed flashes of talent at the wide receiver position. In 2013, all of these players failed to make an impact, and in some cases couldn’t even make it onto the field. Joshua Morgan went from being the leading receiver to a special teamer. Hankerson has failed to develop the talents that he showcased at the University of Miami, where he broke many of Michael Irvin’s records. Aldrick Robinson still has value as a homerun threat, and safeties were playing deeper this year, but a starting NFL WR should have more than 18 receptions. It was an extremely disappointing year for these guys, and it will be interesting to see if the new coaching staff retains them.
Fred Davis: Catches -17, Yards -255, TDs +1
Logan Paulsen: Catches +3, Yards -41, TDs +2
Fred Davis failed to live up to expectations in a contract year, and is likely gone in the offseason. Logan Paulsen maintained about the same level of play, and has about topped out at his talent level. His value mostly comes as a blocker, and makes a good number 2 TE. Jordan Reed is the wild card. He is the only rookie to have a significant impact on offense, and at times looked electrifying working with Griffin. He played extremely well between the numbers, and provides athleticism at tight end that important in today’s game. The issue with Reed is health. Reed went out for the year with a concussion, and suffered two more at the University of Florida. If he can stay healthy, Reed projects as one of the better receiving tight ends in the NFL.
The Redskin’s passing attack is in an interesting situation. They are bringing in a new coach, and that usually means change in personnel. While Garcon and Reed are safe, it is very likely that the receiving corps has a much different look on Week 1.