Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan expects to have a formidable wide receiver corps in 2012 thanks to the additions of free agents Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan, the development of Leonard Hankerson, and a motivated Santana Moss.
Shanahan declared Robert Griffin III his starting quarterback Sunday, but has yet to officially name the starting wide receivers, mainly because he believes the Redskins have so many options. But the coach hinted that Garçon, Morgan and Hankerson could get the nod as the team’s trio of starters.
“We’ll let that play out,” Shanahan said, “but when you go after a guy like [Garçon] and you go after a guy like [Morgan], you’ve got a guy like Leonard Hankerson, you know there are three guys right at the top of the list that are playmakers, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
In Morgan, Garçon and Hankerson – who will be 27, 26 and 23, respectively, when the season begins – the Redskins believe they have a young group of wideouts who can grow along with Griffin. Hankerson is coming off hip surgery, but the Redskins expect him to be fully recovered before the start of training camp.
Shanahan said that the soon-to-be 34-year-old Moss shouldn’t be overlooked. Last season, Moss had one of the worst years of his career, when he was limited by a broken hand to 12 games and recorded just 46 catches for 584 yards and four touchdowns. After a strong start to the season, Moss suffered his injury and missed four games, but he never managed to regain his effectiveness when he returned. Now, Shanahan sees renewed commitment from him.
“Santana is coming in in excellent shape,” Shanahan said. “He’s 15 pounds lighter than at the end of the season. After the first four games, after he got hurt, I think that set him back and it took him a while to get back in playing shape. So he’s come in probably in as good a shape as he’s come in the last three years, at least according to him.”
“We’ve got some competition there. We’ve got some depth, which I think is a big part of it,” the coach said.
Garçon will play one of the outside receiver spots as the Redskins look to take advantage of his exceptional straightaway speed to help stretch the field. But Shanahan and his staff must decide who plays opposite him, and who will fill the slot receiver role.
“We’ve got a number of guys that can play that role,” Shanahan said. “Josh Morgan can play it, Leonard Hankerson played it some last year. Santana can obviously play it, and he’s been one of the best in the league for such a long time playing it. You’ve got Banks, who can play it. You’ve got Aldrick Robinson, who’s got exceptional quickness and can play it. So we’ve got a number of guys that can play it.”
More on the Redskins: