As we count down to the first game of the Redskins’ season, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going to be looking at some of the big questions facing the team and attempting to look into their crystal balls and answer them.
Question 20: Can Pierre Garçon become a No. 1 receiver?
The background: In Indianapolis, Garçon was a nice complimentary receiver to Reggie Wayne who made the occasional big play and acrobatic catch suitable for SportsCenter. But when the Redskins signed him to a five-year, $42.5 million contract with $20.5 million guaranteed the expectations grew. The Redskins want him to be the go-to guy for rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, to be able to deal with double coverage and help an offense that has been struggling for years get going.
Tandler: Let’s first define the loose term “No. 1 receiver”. Garçon is not suddenly going to morph into Larry Fitzgerald or Megatron or any of the truly elite receivers. But there are 32 NFL teams and only a handful of those guys. Garçon is capable of becoming the Redskins equivalent of, say, Hakeem Nicks. That would mean catching 75-80 passes for about 1,100 yards and 8-10 touchdowns. Beyond the numbers, it would mean attracting more than his share of defensive attention and help fellow receivers like Josh Morgan and Leonard Hankerson post some strong stats of their own. Garçon has the speed, hands, and yards after catch ability to fill that role.
El-Bashir: The potential is there. A ripped 6-foot, 212 pounds, he’s as strong as any wide receiver in the NFL, if not as tall. He possesses deceptive speed, runs crisp routes and has a flair for the dramatic (all No. 1 receivers need that last one, right?) Garcon’s numbers also indicate a player on the verge of a breakout season -- 47 receptions in ‘09, 67 in ‘10 and 70 in ‘11. Now the 26-year-old is set to be Robert Griffin III’s first option in the passing game, which could be good for 80-plus receptions, around 1,200 yards and 10 or more touchdowns. It’s time for Garcon to put potential together with opportunity and see where it takes him -- and the Redskins.
20 questions in 20 days
Jammal Brown play this year?
#19 Aug.21—Will Chris Cooley make the team?
#18 Yesterday—Can Brandon Meriweather get he job done at safety?
#17 Today—Is Garçon a No. 1 receiver?
#16 Tomorrow—Can Trent Williams go from good to great?