Last year the Redskins had one of the most even distribution of receiver production that you will find in the league. As DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, and Jordan Reed split up targets, catches, yards and even TDs pretty fairly between them:
Targets: Reed-89, Crowder- 99, Jackson- 100, Garcon- 114
Catches: Jackson- 56, Reed- 66, Crowder- 67, Garcon- 79
Yards: Reed- 686, Crowder- 847, Jackson- 1,005, Garcon- 1,041
Touchdowns: Garcon- 3, Jackson- 4, Reed- 6, Crowder- 7
This year the group could be utilized differently or we could see a similar distribution just with new receivers Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson replacing the numbers of Garcon and Jackson. Here is how I see the top four targets shaping up this year:
-Reed’s biggest issue is can he stay healthy. He produced similar target numbers despite playing in only 12 games and he was far below 100% and generally ineffective in a couple of those. If he was healthy all year he probably would have led in every single category. Looking to 2017 though things could be a bit different especially in the Red Zone as the Redskins have added some considerable size to their receiver corps. Reed has dominated this area the last two years when he’s been on the field, but now there could be more of an even distribution in this area as well. The Redskins could look to limit Reed’s usage in games given their strong TE depth in an effort to keep him healthy so I wouldn’t be surprised if Reed’s per game usage and production dips some. He’ll still be a featured part of the offense, the Redskins just might not feel the need to force it to him.
Prediction: 95 targets, 71 catches, 815 yards, 5 TD
-Crowder was off to a great start the first 10-11 weeks of the season, but faded a bit the last month of the year. Still he ended up with big numbers, for a 3rd WR but he could have really come close to 1,000 yards receiving if he had a better final month. Still there is plenty of reason for optimism for the 3rd year receiver and he should take on a larger role with Garcon and Jackson both gone. Expect him to be Cousins’ favorite target early in the season and a safety valve to help move the chains. I think he’s probably the best bet to lead the team in targets and catches and he should be over 1,000 yards this year. I would guess that his TD numbers drop this season even if we see greater total passing TD numbers this year. Not only will Pryor, Reed and Doctson get a lot of the RZ work, but expect options like Vernon Davis or Brian Quick subbed in as well in that area.
Prediction: 125 targets, 85 catches, 1,114 yards, 3 TDs
-Pryor was the Redskins big free agent signing to help bolster the passing attack and add a big 6’6” target to the offense. Pryor is still learning the WR position as he is transitioning from QB, but in his first full year at the position he took off in the Browns offense leading them in every statistical category with 140 targets, 77 catches, 1,007 yards and 4 TDs. He accomplished that despite the fact that 5 different QBs attempted over 20 passes for the Browns last year, and none of them even reaching 200 passing attempts. On top of trying to find a way to mesh with all the different quarterbacks, Pryor was hindered because none of the QBs were particularly any good. That is a large part of the reason why Pryor’s catch% was so low. In the Redskins offense he will likely see his targets drop (even with Washington likely throwing more), but he should see his stats jump up as a lot more of the attempts his way will be on target and thrown in a way that he can gain additional yards after the catch. I think he ends up 2nd in both targets and catches, but he could challenge for the yardage lead and he should lead in TDs.
Prediction: 115 targets, 74 catches, 1,090 yards, 9 TDs
-The high hopes for Doctson’s rookie year were dashed pretty quickly as he dealt with an injury throughout camp and then tried to play through the injury early in the season. His rookie year after just 2 active games, 6 targets, 2 catches and 66 yards. All accounts have him fully healthy as the Redskins have started up their OTAs and there is plenty of reason to be optimistic for him this season. Doctson has great size, speed and leaping ability which helped make him a highly touted prospect in 2016. While their could be a little rust and he will need to get used to some nuances of the pro level, he is in a good situation to succeed this year. Not only does he have a good quarterback and a wide receiver friendly offensive system, but given the Redskins other options he probably won’t face a lot of top coverage as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Redskins limit him slightly as to not overwork him when they don’t have to, and they will likely use him less in 2 WR sets, and could even utilize Brian Quick over him in some three receiver sets. Despite seeing less snaps, he should still put up some decent numbers. I think he will be lower in targets and catches, but his yards could be still pretty high as he could take over a lot of the deep ball passing work that Jackson handled. I also imagine that his TD numbers will be pretty strong as well.
Prediction: 85 targets, 52 catches, 800 yards, 6 TDs
What do you think? How do you see the receiver group breaking down?