The Redskins offense moved the ball at an elite clip in 2016, with Kirk Cousins throwing for nearly 5,000 yards, ranking third in the NFL. When it came to the red zone, however, Washington struggled to get touchdowns. All too often the team ended up with field goals instead of TDs, and all too often that was the difference in wins and losses.
This fall, some question has emerged if the Redskins offense will move the ball as well considering the losses of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. The two receivers accounted for more than 40 percent of Cousins' production in 2016, and that loss would be difficult for any team to overcome. The Redskins seem to be in position to offset much of that production between free agent addition Terrelle Pryor, third-year slot star Jamison Crowder and 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson.
In the red zone, though, the loss of Jackson and Garçon might actually help.
Rotoworld did a study on unreliable red zone receivers, and both the former Redskins playmakers landed on the list. From Rotoworld:
Losing Jackson and Garcon was a big blow to Washington’s passing attack, but that is not as true when talking about the red zone. The duo combined to catch just two touchdowns on 24 red-zone targets, a fact which certainly contributed to Washington’s near-league-worst touchdown rate in the scoring area. Garcon has had better seasons than last, but overall he has been a relatively poor bet in the red zone throughout his career while Jackson has converted 12.2 percent of his career opportunities. It may be good news for Kirk Cousins, then, that the pair is being replaced by Terrelle Pryor and, perhaps, Josh Doctson. Even in Cleveland’s passing “attack,” Pryor was able to secure 30.8 percent of his red-zone looks and 3-of-4 inside the 10-yard line. Doctson did not have many opportunities in the red zone as a rookie because of his injury, but one of his biggest perceived strengths coming out of college was his ability in contested situations. If Pryor and Doctson pick up the targets vacated by Jackson and Garcon and perhaps a few more, Washington and Cousins could be much more successful in the red zone this year.
The Redskins do have a red zone playmaker in Jordan Reed. He ranked 17th on Rotoworld's list of most dominant red zone receivers, and the simple fact remains when he is healthy and in games the Redskins generally score more.
A healthy Reed, paired with 6-foot-4 Pryor and 6-foot-2 Doctson on the outside with Crowder in the slot, will look much different than the 2016 offense that had 6-foot Garçon and 5-foot-10 Jackson on the outside in most formations.
With new, bigger wideouts it's still possible the Redskins struggle in the red zone, but it's hard to imagine the team performs at the same level as they did in 2016.
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