The headline question is inspired by Dan Graziano’s chat in yesterday’s ESPN NFC East blog, Is Pierre Garcon a real No. 1?
Here’s the Q&A between a Redskins fan and Graziano:
“James from D.C.: Lots of people point to Pierre Garcon potentially having a big year for the Skins based on him “having his best year despite having the likes of Curtis Painter throwing him the ball”. I just don’t see it. His “best year” was purely a function of quantity, not quality. He was 18th in the league in total catches but NINTH in targets. Out of the top 25 WRs last year (# of catches), he posted the second lowest catch rate – an abysmal 52%. Even with Peyton Manning throwing him the ball he was in the low 50s while his pass-catching mates routinely clocked in at over 60%. What am I missing here that made Garcon worth a big contract?
“Dan Graziano: What the Redskins like is his size and speed and age. They think he fits the physical profile of a receiver who can flourish in their offense and that he can grow with their rookie quarterback. They think they’re getting someone who’s about to “pop” as a No. 1 receiver. Seems like a lot of money to gamble on that, but they feel good about the gamble.”
Size, speed and age. Where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas.
Size, speed and age. The most successful wide receiver of the Snyder era is Santana Moss who stands 5 ft., 10 in. on his tippy toes. The second best was probably Laveraneus Coles who is 5 ft. 11 in.
Measure height and velocity as you will. Talent tells all. Art Monk was not great because he was 6 ft., 3 in. He was great because he was a damn fine receiver.
Add another description to Mike and Kyle Shanahan. Risk takers. As Graziano points out, they feel good about their gamble on Garcon and Josh Morgan. We said earlier this month that Morgan’s best year with the 49ers barely matched Rod Gardner’s worst year with the Redskins.
If we’ve learned anything about the Redskins, any team in any sport really, it is that you cannot say anything about new players until you see them on this team with these coaches. Moss was better than we expected. Donovan McNabb was not.
Clinton Portis and Albert Haynesworth were asked to play differently when they arrived in Washington. Portis worked out after a one-year adjustment. The Redskins did not deploy Fat Al as the Titans did, which they promised to do when they signed him. He never hid his unhappiness over being a block-absorber for linebackers. He never worked out.
The Shanahans added speed to the offense, teasing us with the potential for more big plays. But, it has to work out. We won’t know about Garcon and Morgan until we see them in games.
All we know before training camp is that the receiving corps is different. That doesn’t make it better. It doesn’t make it worse, either. It’s just different.