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Need to Know: The top five receivers the Redskins will face in 2016

Jun 24, 2016, 5:28 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Friday, June 24, 34 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.


—The Redskins last played a game 166 days ago. It will be 80 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 21; Preseason opener @ Falcons 48; Final roster cut 71

The five best wide receivers the Redskins will face in 2016

Ranked by receiving yards gained in 2015.

Antonio Brown, Steelers (1,834 yards)—The Redskins secondary is supposed to be improved this year. They had better hit the ground running as Brown will be a very tough test right out of the gate.

Odell Beckham, Giants (1,450)—He has torn up Washington since he has been in the league (3 games, 28 receptions, 364 yards, 5 TD). The Redskins are hoping that their $75 million investment in Josh Norman slows OBJ down. In any case the twice a year meetings should be entertaining.

A.J. Green, Bengals (1,297)—Green has been in the league for five years and has been remarkably consistent and productive. He has averaged 83 receptions for 1,234 yards and nine touchdowns per season. At 6-4 with an ability to snatch the ball out of the air if it’s thrown anywhere near him, Green can be a nightmare.

Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (1,215)—For a while it looked like Father Time had caught up with Fitz. After five years where he averaged almost 1,300 receiving yards per season he gained just 845 per year from 2012-2014. But he had a resurgence last year with 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns.

John Brown, Cardinals (1,003)—Brown was not a big name coming out of college, not surprising since he went to Pittsburg State (not Pitt, like Fitzgerald, Pittsburg State, in Kansas). His speed and shiftiness have made him a big-play threat, especially if you start to pay too much attention to Fitzgerald.

Just missing the list was the Eagles Jordan Matthews (997), who is underrated by many fans. The Cowboys’ Dez Bryant only had only 401 receiver yards last year after missing a good chunk of the season with a foot injury and then perhaps returning too soon. He appears to be healthy and he will be a handful for the Redskins defense twice this year.

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  1. colorofmyskinz - Jun 24, 2016 at 5:41 AM

    These receivers will be challenged by our corner group big time. We have the 3rd best corner group and the best receiving group in the NFL. Been a long time since we have had this level of talent in the backfield. Going to be fun this year!


    • clayton268921 - Jun 24, 2016 at 11:34 AM

      Calm down. Not trying to be a hater but our nickle defense is far from #3 in the league. Until he proves otherwise Breeland is middling, and if OTA’s are any indication Dashaun Phillips is our third. This is assuming Normans last 1.5 years weren’t an aberration, or he get’s lazy with all his money.

      I’m hoping Breeland turns into a stud and Fuller is the projected first round guy we’re hoping, and THAN you’d be correct. But waaaay to early to say #3 CB group in the NFL.

      If Galette can play like he did in NOLA & Preston improves it’ll help these guys tremendously.

      • wvredskins - Jun 24, 2016 at 12:00 PM

        Norman getting lazy? Have you not been paying attention? Norman is busting his ass! Signed his contract on Friday and went to work on monday. Def not getting lazy. You can tell norman wants to prove to the world that he is worth that money. Just listen to him talk. He’s gonna ball! And breeland is not a middle type corner. He is def better than a average corner. C’mon man!!!

      • kenlinkins - Jun 24, 2016 at 3:20 PM

        I agree on the “clam down” statement. While I love the talent I now see on the Redskins roster at DB, they still have a lot to prove. Can they play as a unit, will the pass rush help, lots of talent that has yet to do much in the NFL. If sure beats what the Redskins had just two years ago, but a top 3 DB backfield? I am not ready to buy that just yet.

      • Trey Gregory - Jun 25, 2016 at 1:03 AM

        You know, I’m usually the one who tells people they’re being overly optimistic about our team. But you went way too far on the other side.

        I believe Color said we have the third best CB group because pro football focus recently ranked us as having it. The rankings were based off the top 3 corners because of how often teams are in nickel. They ranked Norman, Breeland, and Dunbar. I was surprised Dunbar ranked so well but he did.

        I also don’t know what you’re talking about with Breeland. He has already proved a lot. He’s played extremely well the past two years and progressively gets better and better. He’s one of the better young corners in the league. He’s a budding star and deserves more credit that what you’re giving him. Fuller is a nice prospect, his potential just make the argument better.

        Norman was first team all pro last year, an absolute stud. Chances are his play does decline a bit. It would have been a career year for just about any corner in the league. Players rarely perform that well back to back seasons. Doesn’t mean he won’t be good. His play could decline and he would still be a damn good corner.

        We’re not Denver but we have a solid group here. There’s no reason to be that pessimistic about it.

  2. garg8050 - Jun 24, 2016 at 6:34 AM

    Gonna be facing top flight WRs all season. This list doesn’t include Jordy Nelson and Kelvin Benjamin, both big-time WRs coming off of injuries. If they’re fully healthy, they’ll pose quite the challenge as well.

  3. 21indiscriminateThoughts - Jun 24, 2016 at 9:54 AM

    I hope we don’t have another year where the injury bug hit only certain position groups and hope our DB group can stay healthy. Otherwise we will get decimated this year against receivers like that…plus honorable mention on this list would be:
    Facing a probably healthy Steve Smith (week 5) & Jordy Nelson (week 11)

    • Trey Gregory - Jun 25, 2016 at 2:28 PM

      There’s a lot of good receiver in the NFL. Also not too many team that don’t have a guy who can be a threat if the QB can sling him the ball. Goes to show how important pass rush is. WRs have a huge advantage over CBs with the current rules. The pass rush has to get to the QB to limit the WR’s time. That’s probably what’s going to make or break us.

      • John - Jun 25, 2016 at 5:53 PM

        But we have “the beast” Trent Murphy who is supposed to change all that because he is now bigger and won’t have to drop in coverage. Oh wait, he was not much of a rusher before, so I’m sure he’ll just tear it up…LOL.

        • Trey Gregory - Jun 26, 2016 at 2:39 AM

          Well we have Ryan Kerrigan, Junior Galette, and Preston Smith for our pass rush. And, from what I’ve heard, at least one promising prospect. Those are the guys we’ll be leaning on for the pass rush. And that is a very, very strong top 3. I would argue we have a top 5 OLB group. Chris Baker should still play well and we will see what happens with Paea and Francois. Paea had a real strong year in Chicago before coming to us. Maybe he gets back to that form.

          As far as Murphy goes: I understand the skepticism. But he was dropping in coverage 80% of the time. And he showed at least some ability to rush the passers. So it should be interesting to see what happens when he’s not dropping in coverage and going against guards instead of more athletic tackles. You never know. It’s crazy enough to work!

  4. redskins12thman - Jun 24, 2016 at 10:04 AM

    Not only does Benjamin return, as garg8050 noted above, but the Panthers already had Olsen. Just as we would not leave out Reed when talking about receiving threats, we should acknowledge that both Olsen and Barnidge would have ranked ahead of Brown, as 5th and 6th on this list. TEs will pick up some decent amounts of receiving yards and are legitimate receiving threats.

    Beside noting four impact receiving corps, don’t forget others; Detroit, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Cleveland ranked ahead of Cincinnati in total receiving yards last season.

    Here is the list of the teams in terms of total receiving yards:

    1 Pittsburgh (3)
    2 Arizona (5)
    3 Giants (7)
    4 Detroit (8)
    5 Baltimore (9)
    6 Philadelphia (11)
    7 Cleveland (16)
    8. Cincinnati (18)
    9 Carolina (24)
    10 Chicago (25)
    11 Green Bay (26)
    12 Dallas (27)
    13 Minnesota (31)

    Even though Megatron retired, the Lions still have Tate and the under-rated Stafford as well as picked up Marvin Jones from the Bengals. The Ravens will benefit from getting Flacco back to pass to Aikin and Smith. The Cowboys receiving yards suffered not only because Bryant was out but because Romo missed a big chunk of the season too.

    With Pederson’s arrival, it’s unknown how receiving options will be used in Philadelphia but my guess is that it will be a balanced attack with short passes emphasized more than deep balls.

    The Packers were hurt not only because Nelson was out, but because their offensive line was decimated by injury and could not protect Rodgers. In addition to Cobb, they have Ty Montgomery and Jeff Janis among others; Green Bay is so confident in this group that they decided not to resign Jones.

    • Trey Gregory - Jun 25, 2016 at 3:38 AM

      It’s not just about team’s total receiving yards. Sometimes teams have the luxury of a good run game, can be more balanced, and don’t have to throw as much. That doesn’t mean the individual receivers aren’t good. And sometimes bad team air it out because they’re behind 21 points. I understand Rich’a rankings were based off receiving yards. I just don’t find much Marie value looking even further at the entire team’s total receiving yards.

      Antonio Brown is the best WR in the NFL in my opinion. He deserves to be atop this list. But let’s not kid ourselves, Dez deserves to be high too. He can’t be on this particular list because he was hurt last year. But we all know what he is. One of the top receivers in the game. I would put him as #2. But I would understand if someone out OBJ ahead of him. Dez lower than three though? Not on this list.

      • redskins12thman - Jun 26, 2016 at 2:35 PM

        I agree with your points; they are exactly why the Redskins must establish a strong running game themselves in order to advance in the playoffs.

        Some of the points I was trying to make include: 1. don’t ignore the TEs when discussing receiving options, and 2. other receivers not mentioned by Mr. Tandler (e.g., Benjamin / Olsen / Ginn / Funchess; Nelson / Cobb / Rodgers; Tate / Jones / Ebron; Aiken / Smith / Wallace / Gilmore) can be very formidable next season too.

        • Trey Gregory - Jun 26, 2016 at 4:02 PM

          Yeah I understand what you meant. This list was exclusively about wide receivers (Rich will probably do a TE list later) and it was based off a metric only for last year. So obviously guys like Bryant and Benjamin are going to be left off. But it’s a good conversation for us to have here.

          As I was saying, every team has someone who can be a threat. Every team. It wouldn’t shock me if a rookie or someone off our radar ends up breaking out too. Like Devin Funchess; I wouldn’t sleep on him in year two. Or Cory Coleman. Thankfully Cleveland has an awful team but I’ve watched every snap Coleman took for the past two years. Trust me, he’s a breakout threat.

          But one of the new (pleasant) realities that Washington fans need to realize is that we have a good defensive backfield. For the first time in years. We honestly don’t need to lose sleep over #2 receivers like Golden take or Mike Wallace. Norman, Breeland, and whoever wins between Fuller and Dunbar should be able to lock the second tier guys down.

          The TEs do worry me though. I’m not as confident in our ILBs and safties. I think Hall could end up being a good safety but we don’t know yet and Bruton has never started. They could work out but we just don’t know. Compton and Foster looked decent last year, and there’s a lot of positive press about them, but again, we don’t really know yet. That’s why pass rush is so important. And we appear to have that too.

          I don’t necessarily agree about the run game though. At least we better not need a strong run game. Because I don’t think we’re going to get it. We could be twice as good as last year and still mediocre. It would take a miracle for us to have a strong run game. I expect Scherff and Moses will get better, our LG play will be better, and things will be okay if Kory can come back. But we’re still talking average at best if they make large strides.

          McCloughan seems to be focused on the pass, on both sides of the ball. He’s gone all in in receivers, pass rush, and defensive backs. But stuck with basically the same running backs, OLine, and run D. He obviously believes the NFL is changing and the run isn’t as important. I tend to agree. It’s becoming more about smaller, faster, and versitile defenders and a strong passing game. Teams aren’t going to be able to keep up if they’re running while we’re passing.

  5. bangkokben - Jun 24, 2016 at 10:29 AM

    More receivers the Redskins will face this season. Here are 2014 receiving yards:

    1519 Jordy Nelson
    1331 Golden Tate
    1320 Dez Bryant
    1287 Randal Cobb
    1133 Alshon Jeffery
    1065 Steve Smith
    1008 Kelvin Benjamin

  6. goback2rfk - Jun 24, 2016 at 12:28 PM

    I am not worried about it at all. That one guy, whats his name? Quinton Dunbar he shut Dez down and the Quinton is a piece together wide reciever corner. We got this sh|t. I am fully anticipating the playoffs again this season. Anything less would be a failure.

    • Trey Gregory - Jun 25, 2016 at 3:46 AM

      Dunbar was a pleasant surprise. He played well. And hopefully Fuller can contribute and live up to Expectations. Dunbar and Fuller give us good depth. And Dunbar will allow us to ease Fuller along and make sure he’s ready before he plays.

      I don’t know about not making the playoffs being a failure though. It’s still year two of the rebuild. At this point I’m hoping we’re competitive and respectable in every game,even if we lose; That we continue to develop our young talent and build a strong culture; and hopefully we can end up with a winning record. That’s what I’m hoping for. If that just happens to get us into the playoffs then so be it.

  7. murphsman - Jun 24, 2016 at 2:33 PM

    I got a little confused reading about John Brown because I’ve lived in PA my whole life and never heard of Pittsburgh State University-because there’s no h at the end. It’s in Pittsburg, Kansas. Pittsburgh is in Pennsylvania, totally different town. Minor mistake, but relevant for discussion.

    • kenlinkins - Jun 24, 2016 at 3:16 PM

      I had to look that one up myself,,,,,,,,

    • Rich Tandler - Jun 24, 2016 at 8:52 PM

      Thank you, correction made.

  8. Violet S Garner - Jun 25, 2016 at 12:28 AM


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