Pierre Garcon, Robert Griffin III Using OTAs To Build Relationship
ASHBURN – Pierre Garçon had little difficulty catching passes from Peyton Manning when the two played together in Indianapolis over the past four years. Now he’s hoping a similar bond can be forged between himself and Robert Griffin III in Washington this spring.
The Redskins’ two marquee additions are expected to be offensive leaders for years to come after Garçon signed as a free agent in March and Griffin was chosen No. 2 overall in the NFL Draft in April.
But before they can do so, they’ll need to learn to work together to learn the offense and develop a connection – a process that has already begun as the Redskins proceed through voluntary workouts this spring.
Thus far, each player is pleased with the other.
“He’s got a very strong arm,” Garçon said Thursday after the team wrapped up a 90-minute practice at Redskins Park. “He’s athletic. He is picking up on the playbook very quickly. … He has a very strong arm, and once he gets everything down pat, he will be a very dangerous quarterback.”
That’s something Garçon knows quite a bit about. The 6-foot, 210-pound receiver broke into the league with Manning under center for the Colts, who qualified for the playoffs in each of Garçon’s first three years in the NFL.
A secondary option for Indianapolis during his time with the team, the Redskins signed Garçon to a five-year, $42.5 million contract in March to be their top option. Between he, fellow free agent signee Joshua Morgan and Leonard Hankerson, entering his second year, head coach Mike Shanahan believes Griffin has his targets for the future.
“I think it’s a great combination, and I’d rather have it that way than me coming in by myself and being the only guy that doesn’t know the offense,” Griffin said.
Shanahan held Garçon in high regard entering free agency for his hands, his speed and his strength, but also because Garçon has demonstrated the ability to consistently pick up yards after the catch.
It’s something that Garçon takes as a source of pride.
“I just like making plays, so every time I get the ball in my hands, I want to make the best play or biggest play that I can,” said Garçon, who had a career-high 947 yards last season, even with Manning missing the season because of injury. “Just going down isn’t the best thing. Sometimes it’s the smartest thing to do, but sometimes you have to go out as a competitor and get more yards, and push yourself to the limit and do what you can for the little opportunity you have with the ball.”
Morgan should provide strength and reliability to the receiving corps this fall, much in the same way Jabar Gaffney, the Redskins’ leading receiver in 2011, was able to do. The 6-foot-2 Hankerson is revered for his playmaking ability, and a cast of other receivers held over from previous seasons – mainstay Santana Moss, Anthony Armstrong, Aldrick Robinson and Brandon Banks amongst them – should give Griffin plenty of capable targets.
“We have a good receiving corps,” Garçon said. “Those guys are good and fast and athletic. And we have a lot of young guys that are very fast as well and athletic. We just have to find a place for them on the team and get it going.”