The Redskins are still searching for a quarterback, but they’ve found the strongest receiver tandem since their Super Bowl days.
The DeSean Jackson-Pierre Garcon duo resembles the Art Monk-Gary Clark pairing. During the 1991 championship season, Monk and Clark combined for 141 receptions and 2,389 yards. This year, Jackson and Garcon are on pace for 142 catches and 2,214 yards.
This being the first tandem to dominate since the early ’90s speaks to the failed drafts that left the Redskins with disappointments like Michael Westbrook and Rod Gardner.
Washington has been able to find one primary receiver at times over the past few decades — like last season when Garcon caught a team-record 113 balls — but rarely could the Redskins find a decent second wide receiver option. (Sometimes, tight ends like Chris Cooley ranked first or second.)
This year, it hasn’t mattered whether Robert Griffin III or Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy has been quarterbacking, Garcon and Jackson have emerged as the best pair in 23 years.
Monk topped Clark 71 to 70 for most catches in 1991, with Clark leading the team with 10 touchdowns to Monk’s eight. Whichever way quarterback Mark Rypien turned, he had an elite receiver to throw to. Monk is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while Clark has been overlooked by voters.
This season, the Redskins’ game plan dictates which receiver is targeted more. Jackson’s blazing speed has produced only three touchdowns, but he has seven catches of 40 yards or more. He’s probably Washington’s fastest player since Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green retired after the 2002 season. Jackson has an NFL-best 42 catches of 40 or more yards since 2008.
All three Redskins passers have misjudged Jackson’s speed downfield, costing the team a handful more scores. Still, Jackson’s 136 yards in the 20-17 overtime victory over Dallas gave him his fourth 100-yard game. It’s the most by a Redskins receiver over the first eight games of a season since Santana Moss’ four in 2005.
Jackson trails only Garcon in total catches, 39 to 32, at midseason. Garcon has sometimes been overlooked — he had two or fewer catches in three games this year — but he also caught 11 against Philadelphia and 10 vs. Houston.
Like Jackson, Garcon can also be a deep threat. He turned an 8-yard out into a 70-yard touchdown against Tennessee, pulling away from defenders. But now Garcon handles more of the dirty work since Jackson arrived in the offseason from Philadelphia.
Certainly, Jackson and Garcon won’t rank alongside Monk and Clark as Redskins greats. But for now, they’re the best duo since the immortals.
By Rick Snider | Washingtonpost.com | October 30, 2014