RICHMOND — He didn’t consider avoiding surgery a risk, mainly because there was no guarantee it would have solved anything. And, in Pierre Garcon’s mind, the risk might have been what the surgery cost him.
Garcon played last season with a torn ligament in his right foot, keeping him out of six games and limiting him in a handful of others. But when he played, the Redskins went 9-1. He caught 44 passes for 633 yards and four touchdowns.
If his foot doesn’t bother him, and quarterback Robert Griffin III stays healthy, then Garcon is a big reason why he said Thursday that this offense could be one of the NFL’s best ever. Whether or not that that comes to be – and it would be quite a leap — there’s little doubt about Garcon’s impact.
Early last year, players talked about how Garcon’s attitude and toughness had rubbed off on other wide receivers. Even Coach Mike Shanahan said last year that Garcon played more physically than he even imagined. And his ability to accelerate after a catch helped, especially in an offense that often created gaps in the defense through misdirection. When linebackers scrambled to get into their drops after a zone-read play fake, it left them out of position – and receivers in a better spot to get yards after the catch.
As long as Garcon’s foot remains fine, then that impact will carry over. Garcon wrestled somewhat with his decision not to have surgery. But he also was told by doctors in the offseason that surgery wasn’t needed (he did have minor surgery on a torn labrum in his shoulder).
“If it was something else it would have been a lot easier to say ‘yeah let’s do it,’ ” Garcon said of surgery on his foot. “But the foot, there was so much uncertainty because it’s such a small area and there was no [guarantee] it would have helped or cure it. So it was easy for me. I just knew I had to go through pain and continue to go through pain and continue to work.”
“I just go out there and try to run fast. You can’t sit around thinking about it. You treat it and prepare for the worst because you can’t worry about it when you’re playing. If something happens, it happens. If not you continue to play ball. You can’t be hesitant about it.”
Garcon made news when he boasted they could be the NFL’s best-ever offense. In his mind, it’s not far-fetched because of the playmakers he said the Redskins have: Griffin, running back Alfred Morris, tight end Fred Davis, and even fullback Darrel Young. Garcon didn’t mention himself; but he was one of their top playmakers last year when healthy. Adding to his belief: he and Davis combined to play less than half a game when both were healthy in 2012. And the optimism is fueled by the hope Josh Morgan‘s ankle is much improved minus the seven screws he had in it last year. That’s a lot of optimism; it’s also the optimism that comes with training camp.
“We have a lot of players that can take the ball whenever they get it to the house,” Garcon said. “When you have all those guys mixed in, it’s tough to game plan for a lot and it’s tough to game plan for everybody.”
The Redskins, with rookies at quarterback and running back, ranked fifth in yards and fourth in points in 2012. Garcon isn’t the only optmistic one.
“For having six new starters and being able to accomplish some of the things we did last year,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “It was pretty impressive. Our expectations are high.”
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at email@example.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.
Saturday’s practices are at 10 and 3:20. Here’s our guide to camp, if you’re going.
John Keim examines the number of hits Robert Griffin III takes.
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