ASHBURN, Va. - The Washington Redskins were disappointed last season with the limited yards after catches generated by their wide receivers.
What a difference a year makes. There's renewed excitement at Redskins Park about the passing game.
The Redskins acquired receivers Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan via free agency on March 13, giving them five-year contracts that included a guaranteed $28 million.
Washington also drafted quarterback Robert Griffin III, the Heisman Trophy-winner whom the Redskins traded up to take second overall.
Garcon's 360 yards after the catch last year for woeful Indianapolis nearly matched the total of Washington's starting receivers, Santana Moss (189) and the since-released Jabar Gaffney (184). Morgan, who missed the final 11 games of last season with a broken ankle, ranked 25th in yards after the catch for San Francisco in 2010, the same season that Moss topped the NFL with 505.
"Garcon's a big-time receiver," coach Mike Shanahan said after Thursday's organized team activity session. "You can see his power, his strength, his quickness, his speed. Josh hasn't practiced full-speed all the time, but he'll be ready to go by the time we get to (training) camp once that ankle heals up. He has practiced enough to tell everybody . he's one heck of a receiver."
Garcon, 25, set career-highs with 70 catches, 947 yards and six touchdowns last season, his fourth with the Colts since he was drafted in the sixth round out of Division III Mount Union.
"Every time I get the ball in my hands, I want to make the best play or the biggest play that I can," Garcon said. "Every time you play in the league there's pressure whether you're a sixth-round pick or a first-day free agent."
Morgan, 25, who was drafted 31 picks before Garcon in 2008, had his best season in 2010 with 698 yards on 44 catches. The District native grew up rooting for the Redskins and played at Virginia Tech so his free agency choice wasn't difficult.
"I figured why not play in my hometown?" Morgan said. "(And) it's the same West Coast system I'm used to. It's a win-win all-around."
Notes: The Redskins signed fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins. Terms were not disclosed. The former Michigan State quarterback's contract leaves only Griffin and ex-SMU center Josh LeRibeus, the third-round selection, unsigned among the nine players Washington drafted. . Defensive ends Stephen Bowen (knee) and Adam Carriker (feet), linebacker Jonathan Goff (knee) and receiver Leonard Hankerson (hip) were unable to practice while running back Tim Hightower (knee) and linebacker Brian Orakpo (shoulder) were limited. Nose tackle Barry Cofield and safety Tanard Jackson were excused for personal reasons . Shanahan declined comment on arbitrator Stephen Burbank's rejection of the Redskins' appeal of their $36 million salary cap penalty. Shahanan said that the he took from cornerback Brandyn Thompson during the May 21 OTA was the hardest he has experienced in 38 years of coaching but that he was fine within 25 minutes. ... Shanahan said that he spoke with Brian Banks and that the standout high school linebacker who was recently exonerated after spending more than five years behind bars, will try out with the Redskins next week.
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