5 Washington Redskins Who Must Step Up If Pierre Garcon Is Shut Down
Garcon caught eight passes for 153 yards and one touchdown after joining the Redskins via free agency this past offseason, but suffered a foot injury that has sidelined him for most of the season.
While it appears as if the Redskins organization is taking a wait-and-see approach to an injury that could simply heal via rest, the staff may shut down Garcon for the year after the Week 10 bye according to the NFL on Twitter:
Report: Garcon could be shut down for season after bye nfl.com/news/story/0ap…—NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) November 4, 2012
Should Garcon be shut down, quarterback Robert Griffin III is going to need some of the other receiving threats on the team to step up in a big way. Let's take a look at players who must step up in Garcon's absence.
5. Santana Moss
Santana Moss may not be the legitimate No. 1 receiver he used to be for the Washington Redskins, but he's going to have to have a return to form without Pierre Garcon playing across from him on every down.
Moss is 33 years old but has done well this season with 23 catches for 311 yards and five touchdowns. He's carried the load when Garcon has missed time, but he'll have to do it for the entirety of the season if Garcon is shut down.
A lot of Moss' success the rest of the season will hinge on the ability of those around him to step up, which brings us to the rest of the list.
4. Brandon Banks
Brandon Banks is a 5'7" speedster who has been primarily used by the Washington Redskins coaching staff as a special-teams player after just barely making the roster in the offseason, but he'll have to see more snaps soon.
If Garcon is officially shut down, the Redskins could really use someone like Banks to step up and be a deep threat that disrupts opposing defenses and keeps them honest.
As of now, Banks only has 14 yards on four receptions, but over 412 yards on kick returns. He's the type of player that can take the top off a defense with his deep speed, which will allow others around him to get open.
3. Josh Morgan
Josh Morgan has already quietly been making a name for himself this year with the Redskins, but he'll have to step up even more without Garcon.
Morgan has caught 23 passes for 263 yards and even led the team in receiving in a Week 8 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He more than proved his worth against a great defense, so his added production will be key for the Redskins.
With Garcon potentially out of the picture, Morgan and the next two players will have to combine to pick up the slack for the Redskins. A lot of Morgan's success will depend on the coaching staff putting him in a place to succeed, but he'll have to execute properly once in place.
2. Leonard Hankerson
Leonard Hankerson is a youngster with great size at 6'2" and 205 pounds who has yet to have a breakout game, but now would be a great time for Hankerson to begin making himself a household name.
Hankerson has only caught 23 passes for 293 yards and one score so far on the season, and has routinely been bottled up by opposing defenses.
With the correct size and skill set to be an impact player in the league, the door is now wide open for Hankers to make himself known and pick up the slack with Pierre Garcon out. It's a big moment for Hankers, and an important one for the 2012 Washington Redskins.
1. Aldrick Robinson
Aldrick Robinson is the man to watch for the Washington Redskins moving forward. He's starting over Leonard Hankerson in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers, and clearly has the full support of head coach Mike Shanahan:
Aldrick Robinson will start over Leonard Hankerson today for the #Redskins.
—Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) November 4, 2012
Shanahan has called Robinson one of the fastest players in the league and said his playing time will increase, and now it has. So far, he has only caught eight passes for 114 yards and one touchdown, but that will have to improve mightily.
The Redskins seem comfortable with shutting down Pierre Garcon for the year, and it appears the reasoning is Robinson. He'll have a trial by fire moving forward, and his results could have an impact on whether Garcon is shut down or not.