Pierre Garcon's Limited Return Great News for Washington Redskins in Week 4

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2012

September 9, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon (88) against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

A report from NFL.com's Kareem Copeland indicates that wide receiver Pierre Garcon will make a limited return for the Washington Redskins against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

That's great news for the offense, particularly rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. The passing game has certainly missed Garcon since he limped off the field in Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints, shortly after completing an 80-yard touchdown play.

The ex-Indianapolis Colt offers a greater downfield threat than any other wideout currently on the roster. Youngsters Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson have struggled to get open deep down the field and have also had issues holding on to the ball.

That's meant that Griffin has had to take off on the run more than is advisable. He's been exposed to a greater number of hits while waiting for receivers to gain separation.

It's also put pressure on an already shaky offensive line. The Redskins simply can't maintain a stable pocket for too long. If Griffin is forced to pause while his receivers struggle for room, more hits and sacks will inevitably follow.

Garcon's size and deceptive speed eliminates these problems. ESPN reporter Adam Schefter suggests Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan will adopt a cautious approach with Garcon.

That's a smart move, but if Garcon is able, then Shanahan must find ways to get him open deep. The Buccaneers defense has altered many of its longstanding Cover 2 schemes this season.

Moving Ronde Barber to free safety and adding free-agent corner Eric Wright to the secondary has encouraged greater use of more aggressive man-coverage concepts. That could lead to big plays for Washington's passing game, but only if receivers can beat single coverage.

The Buccaneers are last in the league against the pass and surrendered 510 yards to Eli Manning and the New York Giants in Week 2. The Redskins have used the play-action pass as well any team in the NFL this season.

Even if it's only for a handful of plays, Garcon gives the Redskins a great chance to expose Tampa Bay's generous secondary and even their record at 2-2.