SNIDER: Redskins receiver cuts represent a huge gamble

Rick Snider
September 01, 2019 - 3:34 pm

Cutting Josh Doctson wasn’t risky, but the Washington Redskins are entering the season with only one experienced receiver and their leading target in concussion protocol for the seventh time.

In the pass-happy NFL, this is no way to build a franchise.

Paul Richardson is the Redskins’ elder after five seasons despite just one of 30 or more receptions. Last season, he caught just 20 in Washington because of injuries that again limited him this preseason. And yet, Richardson is the lone proven receiver.

ANALYSIS: Redskins choose functional over flashy in cut to 53

After recently declaring “potential gets you beat,” head coach Jay Gruden is relying completely on inexperienced and rookie receivers when opening at Philadelphia next Sunday. Doctson didn’t deserve a fourth chance after little production from the 2016 first-rounder, but at least he knew his way across the field.

The Redskins are looking for Trey Quinn to play slot receiver. No matter that he missed the preseason with a thumb injury after barely playing in 2018 as a rookie because of two injuries. Quinn’s screaming speed and good hands make him an enticing choice, but right now it’s all about his potential. Same goes for backup rookie free agent Steven Sims.

Richardson lines up outside as the main deep threat, which may go largely unused in an offense that likely concentrates on high-percentage short passes. Third-rounder Terry McLaurin also went missing in the preseason with a bruised tailbone, but coaches love this guy enough to start him. Sixth-rounder Kelvin Harmon’s biggest preseason moment was a disputed pass interference penalty.

The Redskins can’t draft a good first-round receiver or sign a prominent free agent so they’re going with potential. And that would be OK if tight end Jordan Reed wasn’t hurt . . . again.

All of this leads to a potential firing of Gruden if receivers don’t produce. It’s a career gamble.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks