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The Redskins Await the Return of Former Teammate Pierre Garcon

Posted Oct 12, 2017

As Garçon readies himself to face his old squad, it is clear that the veteran receiver is a man revered by the Redskins organization.

There are significant number of ties between the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins. One in particular is San Francisco’s No. 1 receiver, Pierre Garçon who traded out his burgundy garb this offseason for an alternative hue of red.

Garçon now readies himself for his return to nation’s capital in Week 6. That also means Washington will be tasked with game planning against their former star wide receiver.

Following his four-year stint with the Indianapolis Colts, Garçon spent five seasons in Washington and recorded 376 receptions for over 4,500 yards and 21 touchdowns. Those numbers include his career season under Shanahan where Garçon led the league and set the franchise’s single-season record with 113 receptions for 1346 yards in 2013.

More impressive than the numbers is the respect Garçon earned across his half decade in Washington. He is revered by everyone in that organization, and you won't find a player or coach with the Redskins that would say otherwise.

“Pierre is my O.G.,” Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant said. “He didn’t say much. He led by example. If you want to be successful in this league, watch Pierre Garcon work."

That's what resonated with Redskins head coach Jay Gruden as well. Garçon spent three seasons under Gruden that included a playoff run in 2015.

“He’s always been angry. He was angry at me the whole time he was here,” Gruden joked. “I think that’s what people appreciate about him when you compete with him or against him. You see the anger that he plays with on tape. And it’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing for a wide receiver. Not many wide receivers are like that. He likes the tough and physical play of playing out there. The tough catches. The across the middle catches.

"He thrives on that stuff. And running through traffic and making the hard catches with his big hands and the physical play after the catch. Just a pro and a great receiver for a long time. ...Everything about Pierre Garcon, I admire.”

Garçon became a sure-handed receiver and one of the primary targets in the Redskins passing game. Much of that credit is due to quarterback Kirk Cousins, who will take the field opposite Garçon for the first time in his career. Both Garçon and Cousins joined the Redskins in 2012 and were on hand for two NFC East division titles.

“It has been five years and all I’ve have known in the NFL in the past is Pierre on the Washington Redskins,” Cousins said at a press conference on Wednesday. “It will be interesting having him on the other side, especially at FedEx Field. It will be a different experience.”

But with Garçon’s new venture in San Francisco comes new challenges. Despite being on pace for another 1,100-yard season, San Francisco’s offense has struggled to convert Garçon's production into wins.

This is the first time in Garçon's 10-year NFL career that his team has started a season 0-5. Despite the early struggles, Garçon knows that the pieces are in place to turn things around.

“We have a lot of talent, a lot of great players all around the ball," Garçon said. "Definitely up there with the top teams I’ve been on.”

Through five games, Garçon leads the 49ers in receptions (28) and receiving yards (379) while averaging 13.5 yards per catch. According to Pro Football Focus, Garcon hasn’t dropped a pass yet this season on 28 catchable targets, the third-most targets seen without a drop among receivers. He'll look to add to those numbers in his old stomping grounds against the 2-2 Redskins.

As for Cousins, Gruden and the rest of the Redskins, they've made it clear that they aren't overlooking the winless 49ers.

“They’re a couple plays away from being 4-1,” Cousins said of San Francisco. “If anything, they’re coming with even more of a vengeance knowing that they need to win this one. We see a very good football team."

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