The Washington Redskins will see several familiar faces when they face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and wide receiver Pierre Garcon will both return face their former team.
Garcon had over 1,000 yards receiving last season with Washington and was targeted 116 times according to ESPN. The Mount Union grad is known for his durability, toughness, consistency, and physical play.
He started all 16 games in four of his five seasons with Washington. Garcon runs crisp routes and is always where he is supposed to be. He is one of the most consistent receivers in the NFL rarely dropping a pass.
Who do you think has the best hands in the league?
Here is what the data says pic.twitter.com/DT5GritB9z
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 14, 2017
This season Washington has relied on a talented, but erratic group of wide receivers. Running back Chris Thompson leads the Redskins with 235 receiving yards off of 14 receptions (tied for team lead). Thompson has been electric and has been Washington’s most dangerous offensive weapon so far this season.
Top wide receiver Terrelle Pryor has had an inconsistent start to his Redskins career. He had a key third down drop shortly before halftime against the Chiefs that would have continued the Redskins drive. Against the Eagles Pryor failed to locate a deep ball and did not even realize the ball was thrown. Drops and inconsistency have plagued Pryor.
Dynamic Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Reed has not had a big impact in large part due to injuries. Wide receiver Jamison Crowder has been quiet and has not gotten many opportunities. At this point last season he had 2 touchdowns. This season he has zero.
Last years first round pick Josh Doctson is finally healthy after missing all of last season. He caught a 52-yard touchdown against the Raiders, his first of his career. A week later he dropped a potential game-winning touchdown against the undefeated Chiefs.
— NFL (@NFL) October 3, 2017
To be fair the difficulty on that catch was about a nine out of ten. Still you expect him to make the difficult catches that he was known for at TCU.
— Andrew Doughty (@Adoughty88) October 3, 2017
Shanahan talked yesterday about how he likes the fire and anger that Garcon plays with it (via Redskins insider JP Finlay). Washington badly misses the fierce emotion that Garcon plays with. None of the Redskins weapons in the passing game bring the same type of toughness, consistency and emotion that Garcon brought to Washington. The Redskins also miss his playmaking ability like the incredible one-handed catch he made against the Broncos in 2013. In 2013 he led the NFL with 113 receptions and set a franchise record for catches surpassing 2008 Hall of Fame inductee Art Monk.
The disparity in play and the knack for drops among the Redskins offensive weapons is troubling. Some like Thompson and backup tight end Vernon Davis have stepped up and played well. Others such as Pryor and Doctson have been too erratic. The inconsistency at the wide receiver position is part of the reason why Washington does not have a winning record.
The Redskins offense has been far from sluggish as they rank 8th in terms of yards per game. However Washington is 19th in terms of third down conversion percentage at 38 percent. Last year the Redskins were 5th in the same category at 45 percent.
Last year Washington had DeSean Jackson and Garcon, two wide receivers who run crisp routes and rarely drop passes. This year Washington has a group of wide receivers oozing with talent. Unfortunately they are far too volatile.
Washington will be looking to get more consistency from their wide receivers as they look to improve to 3-2 on Sunday.