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Need to Know: Redskins want to get Garçon more involved in offense

Aug 8, 2015, 5:21 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, August 8, five days before Washington Redskins open their preseason against the Browns in Cleveland.

If you need to catch up on what’s happening in Richmond, scroll to the bottom for a list of our posts from the last 24 hours. 

Getting Garçon more involved easier said than done

RICHMOND—There was plenty of concern last year over the precipitous drop in Pierre Garçon’s production compared to what he did in 2013, when he caught a team record 113 passes. Last year his catch total fell to 68. Although he still led the team in that category, he was often nearly invisible. In 2013 Garçon had at least five catches in every game. Last year there were eight games where he caught three passes or fewer.

But it wasn’t like he fell off the face of the earth for no reason. He was targeted 105 times, one of 49 receivers with over 100 targets. During the course of the season Garçon had to deal with inconsistent play from three different quarterbacks. There also was the addition of DeSean Jackson to the team. He provided another dangerous target for the quarterbacks.

Jay Gruden would like to get Garçon some more opportunities and they have some plans to get the ball into his hands.

“All of our plays, Pierre is a viable option, some of them more so then others,” said Gruden. “It’s just a matter of what the coverage dictates. We’ll try to move him around and get him the ball a little bit more because he’s very good after the catch.”

But getting a particular receiver the ball is often easier said than done. If a defense wants to take away a particular option in the passing game in particular situations, there isn’t much an offense can do about it without risking a turnover or just having your offense have difficulty being effective.

“When you go back to pass, you don’t have one guy in mind,” said Gruden. “This isn’t Xbox. You don’t hit the X button. You have to read the coverages and make your throw determined on what is there for you. He’s always going to be an option for us. How many times he gets the ball is impossible to predict though.”

It will help if the Redskins have fewer than the 65 sacks they gave up this year and if Griffin or one of the two battling for the backup job can be more consistent, Garçon will have a chance of returning to his 2013 form.

In any case, it’s doubtful that Garçon will ever catch 113 passes again, at least not on this team. They plan to run the ball much more than they did last year and that will mean fewer passes and fewer opportunities for Garçon. But he could be a more effective than he was this year by gaining more yards per catch (he had a career low 11.1 average last year) and moving the chains more frequently.


Today’s schedule: Joint practice with Texans, 10:35

—It’s been 223 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 36 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Browns 5; final cuts 28; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 47

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  1. abanig - Aug 8, 2015 at 8:06 AM

    The title should be “redskins NEED to get Garçon more involved in the offense” I think this will happen with Griffin as the starter because he and Garçon have chemistry that DeSean & Griffin haven’t developed yet.

    Garçon should have been the redskins main target on 3rd downs last year as he was in 2013 when he broke the Redskins single season reception record with 113 receptions.

    If Garçon gets more targets as the possession type we, the team gets more first downs and wins more games. It really is that simple.

    Garçon is our Art Monk, Jackson is our Gary Clark/Ricky Sanders.

    There’s no reason why Garçon shouldn’t catch 80-90 balls in a season even when we have Jackson &’Roberts catching 60-70 & 40-50.

    Garçon catching 80-90 balls means more first downs, more TDs, and ultimately more wins.

    • ET - Aug 8, 2015 at 1:59 PM


  2. Johnny B. - Aug 8, 2015 at 8:11 AM

    If Reed stays healthy, Paul continues to get better, and Thompson gets 3 down back .I can’t see Garcon getting more than 70. Expecially with ordinary qb play. It would be nice to see the Redskins play to their offensive potential. If that happens Garcon will have 80 to 90. On paper we have had a top 10 offense for a few years now but they keep putting it in to the shredder.

    • abanig - Aug 8, 2015 at 8:28 AM

      Garçon caught 68 balls last year when it seemed like he was often the third target or not a target at all on plays because of Gruden’s crazy ideas to force Griffin and McCoy into being purely drop back passers, which neither really are. Both of them are better on the move when they only have one side of the field to work with and they have a run option of nothing is open downfield.

      I think Thompson can be our Helu, but Thompson is shifter and more elusive. And if Reed stays healthy I do agree he will have a similar amount of receptions but I think i’d want a WR to have the 80-90 catches and be the third down target rather than a TE. If garçon is our man, that means the catches in theory happen 5-10 yards further down field than Reeds would.

      • bangkokben - Aug 8, 2015 at 9:15 AM

        I agree that Reed took away more of Garcon’s targets last year and that it was by design of the coaches. That can’t happen. As for this bunk about forcing Griffin and McCoy into drop back passers, Griffin injured his ankle the 2nd game of the season on a play-action bootleg. Had that not happened the offense would’ve looked differently. From that point it evolved to a Kirk Cousins friendly offense. Garcon also had ten receptions in the first game and zero in the second. As always it was Kirk’s fault. ;)

        • abanig - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:49 AM

          I have to disagree about who’s fault it was. The offense shouldn’t have changed because Cousins came in after Griffin was injured. Cousins is mobile as well and can run bootlegs and the read option a few times a games just like Griffin & McCoy. Cousins throws fine in the move and IMO benefits from only having to read 1/2 the field on a bootleg as well – all qbs do.

          Cousins nor the other qbs call the plays or design the offense. The truth is that Garçon wasn’t a top target last year because of Jackson’s arrival and that was a coaching decision. I agree Jackson should be the top target at times, but not on every play. Garçon should be the top target on 3rd down because he’s the better and tougher route runner and better at going across the middle for 2nd & 3rd and short/medium when you need those first downs.

  3. troylok - Aug 8, 2015 at 9:07 AM

    I think some of this is on Garçon. He wasn’t getting open like he was in the past. I wonder if he was hiding an injury or hiding his recovery from the toe injury he had the season before. Remember, the Redskins wanted him to have surgery and he elected to let it heal on its own. Obviously, the QB can’t deliver the ball if he is lying on his back, but he shouldn’t throw it when the receiver is blanketed in coverage and I saw this more last year than in years past. Granted, a merely average Garçon is better than most receivers in the league, but I would like to see a return of the guy who cannot be covered.

    • abanig - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:52 AM

      Garçon was open, he just wasn’t targeted as much as he was in 2012 & 2013. He was actually more wide open last year because of Jackson drawing more converge, the offense just wasn’t designed to go to Garçon as much and you had two young qbs who rarely got to their 2nd or 3rd reads on a play.

  4. kenlinkins - Aug 8, 2015 at 9:37 AM

    Rich: The Redskins had 59 less targets in 2014 vs. 2013, Garcon had 76 less targets & 45 less rec. If the Redskins are going to run the ball more (i.e. another drop in targets) AND find a way to get Garcon more targets AND Get D Jackson more targets (95 in 2014) AND find a way to get Reed / TE’s (133) into the passing game AND have RG3 use the Dump off / Check down (104 in 2014) more often, (All things we have heard from the HC), How is that math going to work? If Garcon is moved to 2013 levels, 180, Jackson moved to 120 (2 more per game), TE’s moved up 2 a game 165, and RB moved up 1 per quarter 168, that total is now 633 (or 92 more targets than 2014) which means A. The Redskins are not going to run the ball more B. HC is already planning to panic early and throw more C. Run MANY more plays. Even if you lower my adjustments, I didn’t count the Slot or 3rd / 4th WR position. I think I just found the problem with Coach Grudens system, the math doesn’t work.

    • abanig - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:56 AM

      True good point. I think the possessions we have in games will determine what happens and the score of games. If the defense plays a lot better – more 3 & outs, more turnovers – then the offense will have more possessions.

      I do envision the redskins running the ball more in 2015 than they did in 2014 but if they don’t score early and get down by a few scores they are likely to throw the ball more which means you’ll get a few more targets for each of the wrs, a few more for the TEs and a few more for Morris & Thompson out of the backfield.

      It all depends on game situations.

    • ET - Aug 8, 2015 at 2:11 PM

      There are more targets available, true. That’s a good thing. With Garçon, though, it’s not just the number of targets, it’s when and where he’s targeted. Garçon should be targeted more on third downs and in the red zone. Hopefully Roberts is targeted less, for one. He just didn’t deliver last year. Jackson is great, but he should be used selectively.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 8, 2015 at 3:27 PM

      LOTS more 1st downs Iand points), he optimisticated.

    • Skulb - Aug 8, 2015 at 6:34 PM

      But you can`t predict coverage. If you decide to get Garcon more involved and force the ball to him regardless of coverage you`ll get interceptions right?

    • bangkokben - Aug 8, 2015 at 7:01 PM

      More sustained drives equal more targets. If you’re converting 3rd and 7 at the 50 you have a new set of downs which should equal at least one target. Hopefully a well designed play on 2nd and 5 from the opponents 45. You can target anyone in this situation and hopefully we have 30 more chances this year. As for your targets, I don’t see how the TE needs to targeted more. And a check down is not a predetermined target. It’s a concession that the defense had your primary target covered. How does a commitment to the run equate to a drop in targets? Didn’t the ‘skins offense in 2013 have more success in the run game which resulted in more targets?

      • kenlinkins - Aug 8, 2015 at 8:46 PM

        Here is my concern: If you run 600 pass plays in 2014 (56 sacks, 543 targets) and run the ball about 400 times, that equals about 1000 plays, If you are going to do all the above you must run about 100 more pass plays and about 300 more running plays (total of 400 more plays in 2015). That is about 27 more plays per game on AVG! How many things will have to go right to increase your avg of plays per game by 27 and can that be done? My point is that the Head Coach seems to have over sold / stated to us fans his plans for 2015. Maybe these are just his goals that are set very high and a few of his plans will not pan out, OR maybe I have taken everything the HC has said way to much to heart and the HC is just calling for improvements in all the listed areas (more likely true). Until this HC starts winning guys like me are going to keep being disappointed and try to use his statements against him, which is why I still wish he would learn to say “We are just trying to get better each day”. It is starting to sound like he is just tell us what he thinks we want to hear. And that is not something a good head coach / leader does unless he is in fear of losing his job!

    • hk2000 - Aug 8, 2015 at 7:31 PM

      What everyone is forgetting is that you cannot lead the league in yards per catch and have more pass attempts at the same time. Contrary to common belief, run based offense will diffidently lead to more targets for every one, because it all depends on yards per play, more run plays likely leads to lower average yards per play and, assuming of no turn overs, more snaps and eventually more targets.

  5. goback2rfk - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:15 AM

    ESPN showcased Redskins Texans practice today. The Skins look pretty damn good actually. Certainly better than I expected.

  6. goback2rfk - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:26 AM

    Hell yeah Royal Rumble Redskins vs Texans WWE style. The Skins need to focus more on football instead of wrestling.

  7. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:53 PM

    Adios, Phillip Thomas. I remember thinking you might be an overlooked gem.

    (I know it happened a couple days ago, just catching up.)

  8. goback2rfk - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:38 PM

    They keep making a big deal about the supposed “fight.” I am sorry it is not possible to “fight” with helmets and a suit of armor on. Come on now playa. Archives

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