As the Washington Redskins prepare to defend their 2012 NFC East title, suggestions have become rampant as to what pieces can be added and adjustments made to help the Redskins not only get their second straight division title but their fourth Lombardi Trophy.
Over on SI.com is a 2013 offseason preview for the Redskins, highlighting several areas of success, concern, and modification that can help get Washington over the hump. Let’s just say some of them are creative.
During the 2012 season, Head Coach Mike Shanahan and Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan conformed the offense to the strengths of rookies Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris to unleash the Pistol offense on helpless defenses. The run game barreled over opponents to a league-high 169.3 yards per game on the ground.
With the running game appearing bound for success, many are exploring ways that the Redskins can incorporate a potent aerial attack to the already lethal ground game.
Sports Illustrated believes that the Redskins already have one piece that can be inserted into the slot to help the aerial assault running back Evan Royster.
Royster, a third-year product out of Penn State, has appeared in 18 games with two starts. For his career, he has notched 79 carries for 416 yards and two touchdowns and has collected 24 catches for 177 yards.
In 2012, Royster showcased his duel-threat abilities, securing 15 catches for 109 yards. A majority of his catches came off of swing passes from Griffin III.
While a position change for Royster could improve his versatility and theoretically his playing time, he just doesn’t stack up well against incumbents Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson, and Joshua Morgan at the third receiver spot.
Moss is a living Redskins legend. He was instant hit after the Redskins’ trade with New York in 2005, setting a new franchise-high in receiving yards with 1,483 yards–a record that still stands today.
For years, Moss was the Redskins g0-to receiver, frequently showing a penchant to make the “big play” when needed. After the 2011 season, the Redskins revamped their receiving core with the additions of Pierre Garcon and Morgan.
With the newest additions to the group, Moss flourished in the slot, leading the team with eight receiving touchdowns. After trimming down this past offseason, Moss torched opposing secondaries with his blazing speed that Redskins fans have grown to love.
Morgan was acquired through free agency last year and instantly flourished in his homecoming to DC. He split time between the outside and the slot, notching a team-high 48 receptions. He had seven games with at least 40 receiving yards and his consistency to nab the pigskin could eventually move him to the slot full-time.
Robinson is entering his third year with the team after being drafted out of Southern Methodist University with the 178th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
After spending the majority of his rookie season on the practice squad, Robinson made the active roster for the 2012 season. In his introduction to the league at New Orleans, he caught four passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. His debut, however, was just a glimpse of his big-play potential.
In crucial divisional matchups against the Eagles and Cowboys, Robinson showed his venomous striking ability, torching each for 49 and 68-yard scampers to paydirt.
Whether it’s Moss, Morgan, Robinson, or even Royster, the Redskins have an abundance of options that can pummel defenses from the slot position. Throw in the fact that Royster caught most of his receptions as a third-down running back out of the backfield, and you realize that he isn’t ideally suited to line up on the line.
Head coach Mike Shanahan has been unafraid to move players around to matchups that favor the Redskins, but I just don’t see this move happening in the long-term. The Redskins are too deep at slot receiver to justify a full-time move by their No. 2 running back.
Tags: aldrick robinson, Alfred Morris, evan royster, Josh Morgan, Pierre Garcon, Robert Griffin III, Santana Moss, sports illustrated, washington redskins
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