Ten Questions: The Passing Game
The Redskins had one of the most efficient passing games in the league, and its status is the No. 6 question in our countdown to the start of training camp.
BY ZAC BOYER
With the Redskins set to begin training camp on July 25, we’ll count down the top 10 questions the team faces heading into the season. Today:
6. What’s the status of the passing game?
Aside from drafting tight end Jordan Reed in the third round and signing Donté Stallworth and Devery Henderson on the final day of minicamp, the Redskins’ group of pass-catchers is nearly identical to the one it finished with last season. Only one player – return specialist and pseudo-receiver Brandon Banks – did not return to the team after last season ended. That’s a byproduct of the team’s restrictive salary cap situation, but also an expression of confidence in the current group.
Pierre Garçon, who signed a five-year, $42.5 million contract before last season, was the marquee receiver the team envisioned he would be. Though he missed six games because of a lingering foot injury, Garçon finished with a team-high 633 receiving yards on 44 catches – an average of 14.4 yards per reception – and scored four touchdowns. Merely having him on the field was a bonus; the Redskins went 9-1 during the regular season with Garçon playing in some capacity and 1-5 without him. He’ll continue to build chemistry with Robert Griffin III, which should make the upcoming season even more productive.
The Redskins also got more than they bargained for from Joshua Morgan, who signed, in essence, a two-year contract before last season. Morgan broke his right leg and ankle while with the 49ers in 2011 and had surgery to insert a plate and screws for stability. He led the team with 48 receptions last season, then had surgery this offseason to remove them. Morgan looked more fluid and athletic during offseason workouts, which should make him more comfortable.
A full-time slot receiver, Santana Moss led the Redskins with eight touchdown receptions, and he looked rejuvenated in a role that held him to roughly half of the snaps on offense. Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson are each entering their third seasons, which is about when they should be able to prove whether or not they belong.
And the return of tight end Fred Davis from a torn left Achilles’ tendon will also add to the passing game. The 6-foot-4, 247-pound Davis, yet again facing a contract season, is a game-changer. He had 325 receiving yards in parts of seven games before the injury and should continue to be a factor.
The team didn’t make any splashy signings during the offseason, but after ranking first in the league with 7.74 yards per passing attempt, it didn’t need to.