Last season the Washington Redskins’ offense was one of the NFL’s most prolific units statistically. Quarterback Kirk Cousins, wide receivers Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson, and tight end Jordan Reed served as catalysts for an offense that seemed to move up and down the field at will last season.
The 2017 season has provided a different backdrop. Garcon and Jackson used their respective 1,000 yard seasons in 2016 to sign lucrative free agent contracts with the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, respectively. Losing that kind of production is hard to overcome, and Washington has struggled to do so thus far.
Wide receivers Josh Doctson and Terrelle Pryor are younger, stronger, and relatively faster than the departed Garcon and Jackson. So far, they haven’t been better. Doctson has been thus far underwhelming during what could be construed as his rookie season (he missed most of his rookie 2016 season with injuries). While Doctson is averaging over 18 yards per reception in 2017 with two touchdowns, he only has seven receptions in six games. That total isn’t becoming of a former first round pick.
At six foot six and 240 pounds, Pryor has an astonishing amount of speed to go along with his enormous size. Unfortunately, none of that matters as Pryor has been more of a disappointment than Doctson. Dropped passes have many Redskins’ fans wondering how effective Pryor can be in Washington’s offense. He signed a one year, $6 million dollar contract before this season. Unless Pryor comes on strong in the coming weeks, it’ll be hard to justify resigning him to a long term deal after this season.
Wide receiver Jamison Crowder is having a disappointing season as well. While Crowder has recorded 19 receptions, he’s averaging only 7.8 yards per catch. Crowder has been one of the NFL’s most potent punt returners in recent years, returning a punt 85 yards for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens last season. This season Crowder has struggled returning punts, muffing two of them so far this season while mishandling a third during the Redskins’ 34-24 Week 7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Reed has been mostly a non factor in 2017, as injuries once again have limited his production. Veteran tight end Vernon Davis has provided a spark at the position when necessary, catching 15 passes for 292 yards and one touchdown. Davis is averaging almost 20 yards per reception, which is an astounding statistic considering that he serves as Reed’s primary backup.
Washington’s running game has been a disappointment so far. Starting tailback Robert Kelley has battled rib and ankle injuries this season. Rookie Samaje Perine is a big, bruising runner that Washington hopes will provide stellar play when called upon to replace Kelley. Those hopes have yet to be realized as Perine has carried 55 times for 166 yards for a whopping three yards per carry while dealing with decreased playing time because of ball security issues.
Cousins and reserve running back Chris Thompson have been Washington’s most consistent performers on offense so far. But they’ll need help if Washington is to improve on their 3-3 record. If there’s no help available, 2017 could be another long, disappointing season for the Redskins’ faithful.
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