By Rich Tandler
Over the next few days here on Real Redskins we will be looking at the 2011 Washington Redskins position by position and player by player. Earlier, we looked at the running backs and tight ends. Here, the wide receivers will be under the microscope.
Some analysts out there say that Moss is due for a down year as there is a perception that he follows up good seasons like he had in 2010 with stinkers. Well, in 2009 he still had over 900 yards receiving playing in an awful offense. If the rest of the receiving corps can step it up, the Redskins will be happy with such a “down” year.
The Redskins traded defensive end Jeremy Jarmon, who was not a fit in their 3-4 defense, for Gaffney. At age 30, he is coming off of career bests of both receptions (65) and yards (875). While he is not the kind of receiver who keeps defensive coordinators up late at night, Gaffney is a solid pro who will be a reliable option for Rex Grossman or John Beck. Jarmon, by the way, was released by the Broncos.
Someone asked me recently if Armstrong (pictured) is going to break out this year. My response—with 44 receptions for 871 yards, an impressive average of 19.8 yards a catch in his rookie year, he broke out last year. He is the most underrated third wide receiver in the division and one of the best-kept secrets in all of football.
When the Redskins drafted three wide receivers last April, Austin’s stock seemed to be very low. That would have been a good time to buy since when they actually started playing football, Austin showed that he was paying attention last year as he saw limited action as a rookie seventh-round draft pick. Not only did he earn some snaps as a receiver, he proved that he could fill in as a returner should Brandon Banks’ knee cause any problems.
Thirty-year-old receivers usually don’t play on special teams, but Stallworth knew he had to do something unusual to make the team and to get on the field. So, this week he had to cut short an interview session with reporters because he had to get to a special teams meeting. Stallworth is unlikely to pile up impressive receiving statistics this year but he just may make some plays as a receiver or in the kicking game that help the Redskins win a game or two.
He has everything you could want in a receiver—good size, good speed, good hands. Given a year or two to develop, Paul could become a pretty good player. For the time being, he will have to learn while mostly playing special teams and waiting for his chance.
In time, Hankerson could be the best receiver in this group. However, he is very raw and his opportunities will be very limited in the short term. He seems to be a good candidate to be on the inactive list for at least the first part of the season. Hankerson’s chances of getting on the field this year will depend on how well he polishes his route running and overcomes his tendency to turn some easy catches into drops.