Over the next few days, The Athletes Hub will be previewing a position-by-position breakdown of the Washington Redskins depth chart, all building to the ultimate culmination: Week one of the regular season against the Philadelphia Eagles. First up, lets take a peek at the wide receivers and tight ends.
Starting with the obvious, All-Pro tight end Jordan Reed looks poised to create damage this year, even with a lot of new faces in the offensive huddle. Reed, who is coming off another monster campaign during the 2016 NFL season, as he averaged 10.4 yards per catch and caught 6 touchdowns, looks ready to build off his familiarity with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Unfortunately, Reed’s stats were not as eye-catching as his 2015 campaign, but in his defense, he did miss four games due to injury, and was limited afterwards. Another early concern coming from the Skins camp is Reed’s injured toe, where he has since visited a specialist to get himself “right” for week one. In the meantime, veteran TE Vernon Davis is taking the majority of the first-team reps, and seems prepared to be utilized just as much as he was in 2016.
In order for the Redskins to meet their full offensive potential this year, Reed must remain healthy and help Cousins move the ball across the field. Also, Cousins will need to find a way to get his star receivers involved early and often, and continue to spread the ball around when defenses decide to double-cover Reed. The addition of Terrelle Pryor Sr. as a replacement to the “steady hand” of Pierre Garcon, appears to be paying off thus far in camp, as Pryor is making dazzling one-handed catches go viral.
Other noteworthy receivers Redskins head coach, Jay Gruden, can’t stop gushing over is their 2016 first round pick: Josh Doctson. Doctson, who only saw limited action last season due to an ailing Achilles injury, looks semi-healthy this season, and is ready to contribute in many ways on offense. The term “semi-healthy” is used here simply because Doctson recently hurt his hamstring on drills in camp located in Richmond, VA, but was a limited participant in Monday’s drills, according to Gruden. If Doctson is able to remain healthy, he could be a reliable target for Cousins, and may even show the same flashes of speed DeSean Jackson showed last year, so look out.
The “underdogs” of the wide receiving core can be found by looking no further than slot receivers Jamison Crowder and Ryan Grant. Crowder showed amazing potential last season, and even developed a solid chemistry with Cousins. Now, with Crowder expected to be the starting receiver in the slot, he has to continue to prove that he is a reliable pass-catcher with breakaway speed down the middle of the field. Grant, who may or may not see much action this season, must remain ready to take the field at any point when called upon.
Overall, the Redskins look like they have stacked an ample amount of talent for Kirk Cousins to work with, but until this core proves to be reliable (and healthy) play-makers, these positions are in the “wait and see” mode.
Photo Credit: Washington Redskins Official Website, redskins.com
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