Washington Redskins Need to Address Wide Receiver Logjam

By Greg Bradshaw
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins have one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL, averaging 27 points per game during the 2012 season. While the Redskins boasted the league’s top rushing offense last season, they only ranked 20th in passing yardage. Injury and inconsistency were the main contributors to Washington’s average passing attack. Nevertheless, considering that the NFL is a passing league, Washington’s efficiency on offense was quite an achievement.

Improvement in the Redskins’ passing game stems from better production from their wide receivers. Quarterback Robert Griffin III spread the ball around to his wide receivers, with Pierre Garcon (above), Santana Moss, Joshua Morgan and Leonard Hankerson each recording at least 35 receptions in 2012. Unfortunately, none of them displayed the kind of consistent deep-threat ability necessary that scares opposing defenses. The deep ball is an element that the Redskins must incorporate into their offense.

Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan must also be taken to task with his offense’s pedestrian passing numbers. He implemented a zone-read offense, which focused on a run heavy, option style of offense. While Griffin III excelled in running the zone read, along with running back Alfred Morris, the formation didn’t put a premium on the deep passing game. It focused on an intermediate passing game predicated on timing. That negates the deep-route ability of Garcon, Moss, Hankerson and wide receiver Aldrick Robinson.

Garcon, Morgan and Moss are the first three receivers on the Redskins’ depth chart. Washington signed veteran wide receivers Donte Stallworth and Devery Henderson in an effort to add depth. Stallworth and Henderson have displayed big-play potential during their respective careers. Simply put, they are proven NFL commodities that will be challenging Washington’s top receivers for playing time in 2013, let alone a roster spot.

The Redskins’ biggest priority should be addressing their issues on defense, where injury and suspension have ravaged the unit. It would be hard to justify carrying seven receivers on the opening day roster, with the defense in desperate need of attention. Washington may go with five, maybe six, wide receivers on their opening day roster. It’s too early to tell which receiver (or receivers) will not make the roster. Nevertheless, it’s a dilemma that Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan will have to deal with sooner or later.

Which wide receivers will make the Redskins’ final roster?

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