The Washington Redskins air force unit pulled a graveyard spiral and plummeted to the turf of Fed Ex Field — and mostly every other field that the squad visited last season — leaving quite an impression on its fan base, the club’s front office and league analysts. Gridiron administrators in the nation’s capitol would argue that the Redskins passing game never even got off the ground. As you might guess, that’s not a good thing. Not good for aeronautics traffic. Not good for the fan base. Not good for anybody.
But what in the name of defective operations could have left Washington’s pass attack flying blind? Or, upon further review, not flying at all. Was it a lack of lift that grounded the Redskins’ wideouts? We know the team’s pass protection was MIA. And the unit’s decorated signal caller was a casualty, suffering from the prolonged side effects of excessive parenting, followed closely by the restrictive subjection of a knee brace, which caused frequent misfires when he dropped back and pulled the trigger.
And then there’s a reality that wasn’t often addressed. Of the nine listed on the depth chart, the Redskins may have had three receivers. Let’s be honest for a minute and think this through, because you don’t get a lot of that in Washington as it is. The Redskins really only had Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed and Logan Paulsen that posed legitimate quick-strike scoring threats to secondaries throughout the league.
Now to his credit, third-year wideout Aldrick Robinson flashed eyebrow-raising ability during Robert Griffin III’s freshman season. But the presence of incoming standout Andre Roberts suggests the twilight for receivers with a less-reckoning scouting report like Robinson, who saw limited action last season, posting 18 receptions for 365 yards and two touchdowns.
Roberts, in contrast, will hardly be considered a provisional by-product of the Redskins offensive identity. We know this in part, because the club shelled out a guaranteed $16 million pension to ink him. If that doesn’t impress you, Robert’s numbers with his previous unit might. The fifth-year pro doesn’t pack imperial size, registered at 5-foot-11, 187 pounds, but he joins Washington’s air force squadron with 182 career receptions for 2,123 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 11.7 yards per reception. Roberts is no Megatron. But he’s also not a wideout that the Legion of Boom would disregard.
That’s not to suggest that Roberts is necessarily a lock on the Redskins depth chart. Setbacks have occurred. But it would be safe to say that Roberts’ competition during training camp and preseason will be limited. I don’t project freshmen hopefuls such as Ryan Grant, Nick Williams, Jerry Rice Jr., or Cody Hoffman will supersede Roberts as likely No. 2 or No.3 receivers. Even so, competition at any position on the Redskins roster will be ridiculous in the subsequent weeks. And after shelling out a taxing quantum on Roberts’ gridiron balances, Redskins coaches hope they make bank on his game through the air this fall.