The Washington Redskins need Pierre Garcon this year—which is precisely why he should not play in St. Louis on Sunday. His fitness was deemed to be dependent on his pain threshold—and he will want to play—but it’s not worth the risk of further injury.
Garcon arrived with the weight of $42.5 million on his shoulders and absolutely has to produce to make that investment worthwhile.
Sitting out this week gives him the chance to play at full strength in Week 3, instead of aggravating the injury and missing multiple games. If he thinks he needs the extra week to recover, he should take it.
Nevertheless, Garcon left the field in the first quarter and the offense continued to play well. The Redskins’ performance in Week 1 was one of balance and consistency, with 10 points scored in each quarter and a level of commitment fans will hope lasts the full 16 weeks (let's not talk playoffs just yet).
If there’s a position where the Redskins run deep, it’s at wide receiver. We saw this during the Saints game when Aldrick Robinson replaced Garcon. Robinson looked strong and in sync with his quarterback, resulting in four catches for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Josh Morgan had a 21-yard reception and Roy Helu showed his versatility as an extra receiving threat. Dezmon Briscoe is a fast, physical receiver in the same mold as Garcon, and Leonard Hankerson provides a further option out wide.
Should Garcon play on Sunday?
Tight end Logan Paulsen also made a crucial catch to get a first down as the clock counted down in the Superdome, so there is proven depth when looking for receiving threats.
That’s without even mentioning Santana Moss, who walked into OTAs in the best shape of his life, hungry to contribute to the team. Garcon’s price tag and early-season burst make him a high-profile loss for Washington, but the inevitable panic following his injury is unjustified.
Putting him into the game on Sunday would be fueling the notion that the team can’t compete without him. He’s the No. 1 receiver, no question, but he doesn’t need to prove it by playing through injuries.
Football is very much a hunter/hunted scenario and the bounty scandal doesn’t change the fact that players carrying injuries leave themselves exposed. Defenses don’t need to be paid bounty money to spot a weakness and exploit it.
Garcon would be a loss to the Redskins should he not play, but the offense won’t dry up without him. If he plays at something less than 100 percent, he not only risks injury, he risks letting his teammates down by not doing what’s expected of him.
He’ll be a less physical player, and a foot injury can only result in a loss of pace.
Like most things, it can be summed up in a single sentence. It’s a long season, and Garcon shouldn’t gamble the remaining 14 games on the hope he can get through the second one.