“We spread the ball around a lot,” wide receiver Jabar Gaffney said. “We have a lot of weapons.”
In the Redskins’ season-opening win, quarterback Rex Grossman had no problem involving most of Washington’s wide receivers and tight ends. On the team’s first touchdown drive, he completed passes to four receivers. On the second touchdown drive, he hit five pass catchers. And on the third offensive touchdown drive, Grossman again found four receivers.
“I definitely try to run the offense as it’s called,” Grossman said. “It just so happens that the ball gets spread around.”
It’s normal for a quarterback to develop an on-field relationship with a particular receiver or two. But it might not matter which receiver Grossman prefers as much as who the Redskins’ offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, prefers.
Grossman estimated that his first target was open 70 percent of the time last Sunday, which means it’s the offensive coordinator — the man who calls the plays — who is actually most responsible for spreading the ball around.
“That’s more Kyle than me. . . . He dictates my progression for the most part,” Grossman said.
Receivers know the system hinges on each offensive player fulfilling his role. Grossman doesn’t have the flexibility of some of the league's veteran quarterbacks, and his job is simply to execute the play Shanahan calls.
“I feel like when you’re a quarterback, you’re a quarterback of whatever given system,” wide receiver Santana Moss said. “You have to be open to different opportunities. I feel like he runs it like it’s supposed to be run. He goes out there and does his job, makes sure he’s hitting the open guy. I feel that can only make us better.”
Though Moss and Gaffney start, the Redskins regularly rotated in Anthony Armstrong against the Giants and lined up tight ends Fred Davis and Chris Cooley as wide receivers at different times. Moss played 59 offensive snaps, Gaffney lined up for 45 and Armstrong saw 29.
Their receiving statistics were similarly distributed: Moss was targeted eight times and had six catches, Gaffney caught three of seven balls thrown his way, and Armstrong was targeted six times and had two receptions.
“Throughout the season, teams are going to double who they want to double, teams are going to stick who they want to stick,” Moss said. “I feel like if you do that with this offense, having Gaffney, having Armstrong, having Cooley and Fred, it’s just going to expose somebody else.”