When looking at what's gone wrong for the Redskins in recent seasons, it's hard to overlook the struggles the team has had at the receiver position. Some of the problems can be attributed to unpredictable injuries, but there's no denying the lack of production, and surplus of drops, that have come from the pass-catchers.
In 2018, the Redskins top wide receiver, Josh Doctson, only put together a stat line of 44 receptions, 532 yards and two touchdowns. No terrible, but not what you're looking for out of the No. 1 option.
In 2019, Trevor Matich believes that won't be the case. A mixture of new drafts picks and players returning from injury has the analyst seeing a brighter future for the passing game.
"The receiver group has a chance to be deep and productive for the first time in a long time around here," Matich said.
"I love the potential of the Redskins receiver room," he added.
The key word, however, is potential. If the Redskins receivers want to change the stigma around the group, they'll have to play to the ability many believe they can. When talking about living up to potential, Josh Doctson is a name that surely comes to mind. The Redskins' first-round pick in 2016, he hasn't been all that Washington has hoped for.
Despite being the leading wide receiver in 2018, the combination of injuries that kept him off the field, and inconsistent play on it, have put Doctson in a situation where the team did not pick up his fifth-year option prior to this season. The receiver even said himself that he thinks he'll hit free agency after this campaign.
For Matich, he's not ready to give up on him just yet. In a make-or-break year for Doctson, Matich sees him as the wild card that could dictate the success or failure of the group.
"The light might come on for him, and if it does he's got all the potential that he had coming out of TCU and into the NFL. To be able to jump high in the air and make contested catches even when he's well-covered," Matich said. "The Redskins in the red zone have not been particularly productive in part because they haven't had a wide receiver to that. That's why they drafted Doctson. If the light comes on, he'll be here for a long time. If it doesn't come on, there are other guys that can compete for that role."
Even if Doctson doesn't figure it out, Matich is still in on the other pass-catchers the Redskins will feature. Cam Sims, who only made it through part of a game in 2018, is someone that he believes will become a solid target with his combination of speed and strength. He's also excited about the speedy duo of Terry McLaurin and Paul Richardson Jr.
McLaurin has impressed in his early showings, even having some analysts believing he should get a crack at the starting spot across from Doctson. Matich agrees that McLaurin should be lined up on one end, but he also likes the idea of putting the now-healthy Richardson Jr. on the field at the same time. After missing most of last season, Richardson has the potential to change the dynamic of the offense, with Jay Gruden believing he could be an X-Factor.
"Now you can imagine one on one side and the other on the other side," Matich said. "That'll open up all kinds of space for the tall guys underneath to make plays. The Redskins receiver room has the potential to be extremely productive."
New names and old, the formula is there for the Redskins to have success through the air in 2019. But, it all depends on the "ifs". If Josh Doctson finally establishes himself as a reliable option, the group gets deeper and more dangerous. If McLaurin and Richardson Jr. can stretch the field, everything becomes easier. The possibilities are there, now they just have to deliver.
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