by Ray Kuhn
With the news coming that Robert Griffin III will be out for at least eight weeks, publically the Redskins are saying all the right things about missing their star quarterback. Privately that might not necessarily be the case as there are rumblings that new coach Jay Gruden preferred backup Kirk Cousins anyways. In fairness to Griffin it was only a little more than one game, but Gruden reportedly liked Cousins because he felt the former fourth round pick had a better grasp of the offense and the playbook. Granted it was against the Jaguars, but Cousins wasted little time making his presence felt completing 22 of 37 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns.
Cousins also did that without deep threat and offensive weapon DeSean Jackson, who left with a shoulder injury (as well as without Jordan Reed). On the surface it seems that the Redskins offense would look more attractive to fantasy owners moving forward.
However, for owners of Pierre Garcon there was concern that would not necessarily be the case.
Darel Young and Niles Paul were the two unlikely recipients of touchdown passes from Cousins, but the assumption would have been that Garcon would have reaped the benefits with Jackson sidelined. Instead, Garcon was only targeted four times while catching just one pass for 12 yards.
Should Garcon owners be worried now that Cousins will be starting for at least the next two months? Not at all. To me, there isn’t much to read into here.
Garcon had a bad game, and I would just leave it at that. Washington’s offense did not look all that powerful in Week 1, but he still managed 10 catches for 77 yards on 12 targets. So I don’t think we have to worry about Washington deemphasizing Garcon with the addition of Jackson. In fact, there might be something to the fact that with Jackson out, the Jaguars defense instead put all of their focus on Garcon and succeeded in taking him away.
Another factor at play here is that Cousins really did not attempt many passes down field, although Andre Roberts did have five targets in that game, and instead used Paul and Young as safety options. Plus, the Redskins built up a commanding lead pretty early on in the game and there really was no reason for Washington to force the issue with the passing game. Alfred Morris and Silas Redd both got a solid amount of work as the Redskins controlled the game.
In order for Cousins and the Redskins to be successful, I think Gruden is aware that Garcon needs to be an integral part of the offense. Jackson is slated to be back next week but regardless, Cousins and Garcon will be perfectly fine.
Last season Cousins played three full games with Garcon, Week’s 14-16, and Garcon recorded two of his five 100-plus yard games of the season. Cousins targeted Garcon 38 times, and they connected on 24 of those for 329 yards and two touchdowns. Now based on the season Garcon had, 113 catches on 181 targets and 1,346 yards, it really didn’t matter who was throwing him the ball, but it was clear that he and Cousins did have a chemistry together.
On the season Cousins, who also appeared in two other games in relief, threw for 854 yards with 4 TD and 7 INT while completing just 52.3% of his passes, but he did throw for 381 yards in Atlanta.
Cousins is capable of being more than just a caretaker for the offense until Griffin comes back, and in order for him to have success Garcon is going to have to be a big part of the offense. I would not read anything into Garcon’s lack of output last week. If you need help at the quarterback position, Cousins is worth a look and I wouldn’t change Garcon’s value from where it was prior to the season.