Kyle Shanahan confident Pierre Garcon can contribute more

Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon was held to three catches for five yards in his return. (Richard Lipski/The Associated Press)

In his first game back after a five-week layoff because of his injured toe, Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon recorded only three catches for five yards. But although the receiver’s impact was minimal last week, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan believes that Garcon is capable of more, and doesn’t expect him to just limp along as a decoy the remainder of the season.

“I have no doubt. He can definitely contribute more,” Shanahan said of Garcon, whom Washington signed in the offseason to a five-year, $42.5 million contract to be their leading wideout. “But that’s not really up to him. That’s more up to the coverages that he gets and the looks that happen, and Robert going through the progressions. We called a few plays for him that didn’t go for him, but it depends on how they play it, but that’s really like that for any guy on our team.”

Garcon opened the season by recording four catches for 109 yards, including an 88-yard touchdown, in the first eight offensive plays of Washington’s season-opening win over the New Orleans Saints. But on the touchdown play, Garcon tore a ligament in the second toe of his right foot. The injury makes it impossible for Garcon to push off, run or cut without experiencing pain. He didn’t play the remainder of the game, and missed the next two before hobbling through the fourth and fifth games of the season.

After seeing Garcon struggle through practice and warm-ups leading up to the team’s Week 5 matchup, the Redskins told Garcon not to play. He saw a foot specialist and opted against surgery in hopes that five weeks of rest would enable him to recover to the point where he could contribute more effectively.

Garcon didn’t seem to have his usual speed Sunday against the Eagles, but he did catch all three passes that came his way, and made it through the game after playing a limited number of snaps, and didn’t report any setbacks the following day.

“I thought he did good,” Shanahan said when asked about Garcon’s play. When Pierre came back against Tampa and in the Atlanta game, he was out there battling through it, but it was obvious that he wasn’t running as well. He didn’t get too many opportunities [Sunday]. He got some short throws and stuff. At times, he had a chance and we went the other way with the ball. But when we looked at him hard after the game, he’s still not 100 percent, but he was definitely running better than when he came back in those two games.”

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