Wide Open: Redskins hoping to get more out of receivers

September 19, 2018
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FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2018, file photo, Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman prepares to catch a pass in the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Baltimore. After losing two wide receivers to long-term injuries, the Washington Redskins saw a glaring need and signed Michael Floyd and Breshad Perriman this week in the hopes of giving quarterback Alex Smith and the offense more options. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Alex Smith met his new receivers for the first time shortly before throwing to them in practice.

Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden hopes his quarterback will have other targets this weekend.

The Redskins signed veterans Michael Floyd and Breshad Perriman this week with rookies Cam Sims and Trey Quinn already on injured reserve, Paul Richardson is nursing a sore shoulder and Maurice Harris is coming back from a concussion. Gruden would love for Richardson and Harris to be ready to face the Packers on Sunday, but either way, Washington’s receivers have to be better than they were in a lackluster loss to Indianapolis.

“We’ve got to catch the ball,” Richardson said Wednesday. “A lot of it is playmaking with getting the ball in our hands. I think if we do that, especially the earlier we get the ball in our hands — the earlier the better — we can make somebody miss and go extend plays.”

Smith has no shortage of weapons on offense, from running backs Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson to tight end Jordan Reed and wideouts Richardson, Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson. But when the Colts made the Redskins one-dimensional by taking the lead and limiting Peterson to 20 yards on 11 carries, the passing game wasn’t able to compensate.

Throws that were just off or dropped cost Washington critical first downs, and it’s clear the chemistry between Smith and his receivers is a work in progress.

“It’s a process that never ends,” Smith said. “You’re constantly working at that.”

Everything worked during a Week 1 victory at Arizona, but the Redskins could barely move the ball down the field against Indianapolis. The Colts took away Reed more often than not, a blueprint the Packers and future opponents could follow if the rest of the offense doesn’t get in better sync.

“Guys just got to win their matchups, show that they can win and give (Smith) confidence,” Reed said. “We’ve got a lot of playmakers on this team, a lot of guys that can win their matchups one-on-one. We’ve just got to keep getting better and get in that rhythm.”

It would be difficult for Floyd and Perriman to get into that rhythm right away, though it might be necessary. Richardson did not practice Wednesday despite an MRI exam showing no damage to his shoulder, and his status is questionable.

Harris, on the other hand, could make his season debut after missing roughly a month with a concussion. Gruden said Harris was cleared to practice and could give Washington the kind of jump-and-catch ability Doctson was supposed to as a 2016 first-round pick.

Richardson was signed during the offseason to give the Redskins downfield speed they’ve lacked since the departure of DeSean Jackson. Perriman has the same profile, and whether he or Richardson is active against Green Bay, the deep ball is something that needs to develop for the offense to have success.

“It’s rare that you want your quarterbacks to be forcing those throws, especially over the top of coverage if coverage is there,” Richardson said. “You’ve got to hit (defenses) intermediate and then you catch them trying to jump those low routes or intermediate routes and you make them pay over the top.”

NOTES: LG Shaun Lauvao did not practice because of a calf injury and could miss some time. Gruden said if Lauvao can’t play against the Packers, C Chase Roullier would slide over and Tony Bergstrom would start in the middle. ... LB Zach Brown did not practice because of an oblique injuries, and RG Brandon Scherff and LT Trent Williams were limited with knee injuries.


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