In the coming days, Redskins reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going to have some fun with numbers—Las Vegas style. Each morning, we’ll pick a player or unit that’s expected to make a major impact for the Redskins in 2015, set an over/under and then make our predictions. We encourage you to play along in the comments section below.
Today, we're looking at the pass catchers:
WR DeSean Jackson, 1,250 receiving yards—Jackson had 1,169 last season after picking up a career high of 1,332 with the Eagles in 2013.
Tandler—Under: I think that Jackson almost deserved All-Pro consideration for gaining as much yardage as he did considering the three-ring circus the Redskins had at quarterback last year. But even if the QB situation stabilizes I think that about 1,200 yards is his ceiling in an offense that should emphasize the run more than it did last year.
El-Bashir—Under: I expect Jackson to easily top 1,000 yards for the fifth time in his eight-year NFL career. But a renewed commitment to the run coupled with Gruden’s desire to become more diverse and unpredictable means Pierre Garçon, Matt Jones and Jordan Reed will get more action. And, let’s remember, there’s just one football.
Jackson, 6.5 touchdowns—He had six last season, but has scored as many as nine twice in his career.
Tandler—Over: Last year only one of his touchdowns came from less than 40 yards out. I think they’ll use him a little more in that area just outside of the red zone, between the opponent’s 25 and 35, to try to get a quick score. That will give him a couple of additional TD’s.
El-Bashir—Under: Although 28 players caught seven or more touchdowns in 2014, I have a hard time believing Jackson will improve on last year’s total. Five times in seven years Jackson has scored six or fewer touchdowns. That’s a trend.
WR Pierre Garçon, 80 receptions—He had 68 last season after setting a team record with 113 in 2013.
Tandler—Under: He was targeted 105 times last year, a fairly substantial number for a starting wide receiver. I don’t see that number going up a lot if the Redskins do indeed run the ball more often. I think he’ll stay around 65-75 catches.
El-Bashir—Over: But just barely. To get to 81 receptions, Garçon would need to pick up 13 more than he had during a disappointing 2014 campaign. That’s totally doable, particularly if the Redskins enjoy more consistent play from the quarterback position and Garçon is targeted more as a result of switching to the ‘Z’ receiver spot, as offensive coordinator Sean McVay expects will happen.
TE Jordan Reed, 11.5 games—He played in 11 games last year, missing five games after a couple of bouts with hamstring problems. A knee injury early and a concussion late limited him to nine games as a rookie in 2013.
Tandler—Over: Some guys who are injury prone early in their careers can’t shake it and end up with short careers. Others figure out how to take care of their bodies and avoid the big hits that will sideline them. They can go on and prosper in the NFL. I think that Reed is in the latter category. I don’t think he is going to turn into an iron man or anything but he’s smart enough to recognize that his career is at a crossroads and take preventive measures to stay on the field.
El-Bashir—Under: When Reed missed the offseason after undergoing a minor knee procedure, red flags went up for me. But you know what worries me more than all the soft tissue injuries he's accumulated? The possibility of another concussion. Look, I hope I’m wrong. I hope Reed stays healthy and plays in all 16 regular season games. But his history dictates that he’ll miss more than a few.
Previous Redskins over/under posts: