Griffin and Gruden excited to get top weapons back


After missing the first preseason game with a strained hamstring, Pierre Garcon, above, will return for Monday night’s preseason contest against Cleveland. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

For the first time in a game situation, Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins will have both of their top pass-catching weapons on the field when Washington hosts Cleveland.

Pierre Garcon led the NFL last season with 113 catches to go with his 1,346 yards and five touchdowns. Washington this offseason signed three-time Pro Bowl receiver DeSean Jackson, who also recorded 1,300 receiving yards along with nine touchdowns on 82 catches. He will serve as a speedy, field-stretching complement to Garcon.

Neither wideout played in the preseason opener, however, as each nursed injuries — Garcon a strained hamstring and Jackson a bruised ankle.

With both on and off the field at various points during training camp, Griffin has received only minimal opportunities to work with Garcon and Jackson at the same time.

The two have practiced fully since Monday, and now Griffin looks forward to this coming Monday, where he and his team will get a more complete preview of their capabilities this season.

“It’s great to have everybody healthy,” Griffin said. “We’ve had them out here in practice for a couple days now, and it really wasn’t that way in training camp. One was out, the other was out, both were out. So it’s good to have them both back.”

Garcon agreed.

“It should be fun. We do have a lot of weapons that have been banged up,” he said. “But to be out there Monday night, showing everybody our offense, it definitely will be fun and exciting and we look forward to getting out there on the field.”

With Garcon and Jackson back in the mix, Griffin should have no shortage of explosive targets to go to. Andre Roberts will return to his role as slot receiver after playing primarily on the outside in Garcon’s absence last week. And tight end Jordan Reed is expected to play after missing four days earlier this week with a stomach virus.

Play-caller/head coach Jay Gruden hasn’t decided exactly how much the starters will play, but he expects that the snap count will exceed last week’s tally of 10.

Either way, Gruden said this second preseason game will help the players prepare for the regular season while providing himself with a good opportunity for experimentation.

“Yeah, we’re excited to see them run out and compete, get them in a game situation and see how they do,” he said. “Just get the rust off of them and it’s important for them to try to get some type of continuity with the quarterback and the offense in general, just the speed of breaking the huddle on game day and how many plays in a row can you go without getting tired. If I sent them deep, can they come back and dig out a first forced block or can they run deep again, two or three times in a row? So, we’ll see what kind of stamina they have, they look like they’re doing well out here at practice but gameday speed is a little bit different and hopefully they can handle it.”

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:

The Redskins practice at 8:35 a.m. on Friday.

Also from The Post:

New arrival Hayward’s ‘wild’ energy is special

Griffin brushes off Manziel comparisons

Thomas and Reed return to action

Morris is ‘Steady Eddie’ in Gruden’s eyes

Breeland ready to deal with consequences of citation

More NFL: Home page | D.C. Sports Bog | The Early Lead | Fancy Stats | Fantasy

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Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.

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Mike Jones · August 14, 2014

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