On April 2nd, 2014, the Washington Redskins made a move that sent shock-waves through the entire NFL. Long time enemy and bane of the Redskins, wide receiver Desean Jackson, had just been signed in DC immediately following a flood of rumors and speculation concerning his off the field activities and connections were released from unknown sources in Philadelphia. After being abruptly cut from the Philadelphia Eagles, Desean Jackson finds himself in the same conference, and the same division, ready to face his old squad twice a year. Now this article is not going to speculate about Jackson’s supposed “gang ties”, his off the field connections, rumors or the like. This article is going to take a look at the possibilities that lie in wait for a young Washington team who have added a weapon like Jackson to its arsenal.
When one thinks of great Washington wide receivers, their thoughts are automatically whisked away to a group known as the Posse. Wide receiver has not really been a position of strength in our nations capital since the days of Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders. It seems as if new head coach Jay Gruden wants to change that notion, and fast. The Redskins wasted no time signing Jackson, as after he was cut from Philadelphia, he only visited one team, the Washington Redskins, before coming to terms on a lucrative 4 year deal. Bruce Allen, Washington Redskins GM, structured the contract so as to lessen the cap hit in years one and two, while back-loading the remaining money of a 16 million dollar guaranteed contract. This will prove beneficial for the Redskins, as they look to improve at positions across the board. In what is an unfamiliar twist, the one position that the Skins feel the most confident about is quarterback, which is definitely a deviation from the historical game of musical chairs at that position in DC. Jackson (27), together with RG3 (24), Pierre Garcon (27), Jordan Reed (23), Alfred Morris (25), and new wide receiver Andre Roberts (26), have the Redskins swimming in young talent. The Redskins certainly boast a talented cast of young and quick playmakers at every skill position on offense, one that has the capacity to set the NFC East on fire for seasons to come.
100 yards. Everyone knows from goalline to goalline, the NFL field is 100 yards long. Very few players in the NFL have the talent, speed and capacity to stretch defenses to their breaking point, utilizing all 100 yards available to them, and Desean Jackson is right up at the top of the list of players capable of doing just that. Robert Griffin III, like we all know, had some setbacks last season, recovering from a torn ACL/LCL to public disagreements with head coach Mike Shanahan. Jay Gruden, the mastermind of the high powered Bengals offense the past couple seasons, is banking that this is exactly what will put his young blue chipper over the top. Having a legitimate deep threat like Desean Jackson opens up a world of possibilities in the passing game, as well as the running game. Pierre Garcon had a career year last season, and led the league in catches and yards after the catch. Look for those statistics to go up, considering that teams will have to seriously think twice before double teaming him this year. The offensive matchups will almost always certainly favor the Washington Redskins from now on, as teams will have to spend a much higher number of snaps in the nickel formation to combat the sheer number of receiving weapons the Redskins now boast. Jordan Reed will also become a direct beneficiary of this new angle, as will Garcon and Roberts. Furthermore, look for the greatest impact to be felt, not in the passing game, but in the running game. Alfred Morris has ran over the competition in his first two seasons in the league, and look for that to continue this season. This could very well become a career year for Morris, as defenses struggle with the matchups and the firepower that the Redskins will now bring to the table. Nickel defenses will have a hard time stopping Alfred Morris, as his running style is or conducive to one cut, then up the field running with zero hesitation. Unless teams stack the box with seven or eight men, look for his yards per carry average to stay north of 5, and look for the Redskins to once again be tops in the NFL in rushing. This signing will then open up the play action options available to the Redskins, and RG3 definitely knows how to make that dynamic work. He is a master at selling the hand off, and with such a threat as Alfred Morris carrying the ball, defenses will most certainly have to respect it. The passing game will most certainly benefit from the signing of all-pro Desean Jackson, but it will be in the running game where the signing will carry the most weight. The signing opens things up for Washington’s offense in a way that they really do compliment one another, and the Redskins have the pieces on offense to make it work. Youth and talent reign under Jay Gruden’s new roster. One thing is for sure, its been a lengthy stretch since the Redskins have had a defense that defenses will actually fear, and have to plan for, The ceiling is so high concerning this offense, and look for Jay Gruden to squeeze every ounce of productivity he can out of his new team.