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Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Quick Takes: Redskins receivers

By John Keim

• Whether the blame is on the coaches or the players themselves, the Redskins have been hurt by the lack of development from Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson. Yes, we’re back to that again. Hankerson has improved in some areas, but he’s not a consistent threat, with just four catches in the last three games. The Redskins once thought he could be a solid No. 2 receiver. He’s not. Robinson's hands were better than Hankerson's this summer, but with the latter it's always a focus issue. Robinson remains inconsistent because he often seems to fight the ball and his catches aren't always smooth. Neither makes those tough, in-traffic catches often.

• The Redskins have only drafted four wide receivers since Mike Shanahan took over after the 2009 season.  They’re on their third receivers coach. Of the four, one (Terrence Austin) was cut and another (Niles Paul) was moved to tight end. They have failed to develop a quality receiver; Robert Griffin III’s growth as a passer will help, but that will only help so much.

• After Sunday’s game, Pierre Garcon said, “We didn’t have trouble getting separation. We’re just out there doing what they tell us to do.” I’m not sure I always buy that they’re getting separation. I do know that one knock on Griffin is that he does not throw players open against man coverage.

• Sunday, the non-Garcon wideouts were targeted 12 times and caught four passes for a combined 30 yards. Whether you pin the blame on the passes or the target, that’s not getting it done. Meanwhile, Garcon only averaged 6.6 yards per catch. There is very little downfield passing game.

• If Garcon ever has to miss a game this season the Redskins are in trouble. He’s a legitimate threat to a defense.

• A storyline this summer was Josh Morgan regaining some of his explosiveness, after having the screws removed from his surgically-repaired ankle. Perhaps he has, but it hasn’t resulted in him becoming what the Redskins needed from the Z position. Love his toughness and willingness to do whatever they ask, but his longest catch this season is 21 yards and he’s caught three passes for 15 yards in the past four games combined (when his playing time has decreased). His longest catch last season was 32 yards, but he had only three other games in which his longest grab was at least 20 yards.

• In the last four games combined, slot receiver Santana Moss has caught four passes for 62 yards.

• Though, of course, he would have had a long reception had he and Griffin connected on a third-quarter incompletion. The pass was behind him and I’m not sure Morgan even looked in time. Regardless of the fault, it didn’t click. That’s a phrase that could be used a lot when it comes to the Redskins’ passing attack.

• The Redskins are like a pitching staff in baseball that has a solid No. 1 starter, though not a Cy Young contender, and a bunch of No. 4’s, guys you can run out there who are capable of a good game but not a string of them.

• I’ll go back to another stat: The last wide receiver not named Garcon to surpass 85 yards receiving was Donte Stallworth in Week 14 of 2011.

• This season, Garcon has four games of at least 60 yards receiving. Hankerson, Moss, Morgan and Robinson have combined for four such games. Again, some of the blame goes to the Griffin’s inconsistency but certainly not all. It’s not a group that scares defenses. The passing game worked last year when the play-action game forced linebackers into bad drops, leaving gaps in their coverage. Now teams are playing more man coverage.

• I have not talked to anyone about Lance Lewis, who remains on the practice squad. He was rather inconsistent this summer and did not look like a player ready to contribute at the NFL level.