Bye week grades: Tight ends and wide receivers
At times the Redskins look like a team that could make some serious noise in the playoffs and at other times they look like a team that will struggle to make the playoffs. At 4-3-1, they’re still in the thick of things as they catch a breather at the bye. It’s been an interesting couple of months, indeed, and over the next few days CSN Mid-Atlantic reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will hand out their first half grades, position-by-position.
Tandler: The pass catchers were hyped as the best group in the business going into the season but it really hasn’t worked out that way. They aren’t playing poorly. The tight ends and receivers have accounted for 2,170 receiving yards; they are well on their way to a successful season in that regard.
But they aren’t getting into the end zone. Jamison Crowder has four touchdown receptions and Jordan Reed has three. No other receiver or tight end has more than one. That may be a reflection of the Redskins’ inability to get the ball into the end zone or that may be one of the causes of it. Regardless, the output isn’t there.
Crowder, the team’s leader in receiving yards, and Reed, who leads the team in receptions despite missing two games with a concussion, get high marks. So does Vernon Davis, who played very well filling in for Reed and playing with him. It’s hard to grade DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon as Kirk Cousins doesn’t seem to be clicking with either one of them. This grade comes with a green up arrow; they are trending in the right direction.
Finlay: Grading the receivers and the tight ends together feels a bit like using one test to grade physics and social studies. The positions and demands are different. That said, it's hard to knock either unit.
It's easy to declare that Jamison Crowder has been the best receiver on the team through eight games, but the argument can even be made that Crowder is the team's MVP through eight games. 40 catches for nearly 500 yards, four receiving TDs and always a threat in punt returns, Crowder also seems to make almost every clutch pass thrown his way. Reed and Davis, like Tandler pointed out, have also been strong options.
The struggles with Garçon and Jackson do not seem to be the fault of either receiver. It's also possible there is no fault for the duo's combined 66 catches. The Redskins offensive design wants quick, efficient play from the quarterback, and largely, that's what Kirk Cousins has done. Locaten open receiver, throw ball. That said, the lack of deep success could be a factor in the red zone struggles; defenses allow for shallow and underneath passes down the field, but when the real estate gets tight, there is no more room.
Where Tandler knocked the WR/TE grade down for Pierre and DeSean's lagging production, that blame is misguided.
Consensus Grade: B