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Gaffney's Experience Gives Him An Edge

Posted Dec 20, 2011

Jabar Gaffney has quietly emerged as the Redskins' top wide receiver this year. He needs 158 receiving yards for his first 1,000-yard season.

When the Redskins executed the trade for Jabar Gaffney at the beginning of training camp, it was unclear how he would fit into the team’s offensive attack.

At the time, the Redskins had a crowded receiver corps with a lot of young talent, and Gaffney had never played for head coach Mike Shanahan.

Shanhan liked what he saw.

Said Gaffney: “When I came here, Mike said that I would have the opportunity to compete and play. The rest was up to me.”

Gaffney, a 10-year veteran, slotted into a starting role early in preseason, but he still had to prove that he could handle the responsibilities of the Redskins' offense.

“I liked his production at every place he had been, and we thought the trade would be good,” Shanahan said. “Jabar would get a chance to compete with our guys, but you still have to learn a new system.”

And that’s precisely what he has been able to do.

Through 14 games, Gaffney has posted 58 catches for a team-leading 842 yards and four touchdowns. He is also the only receiver, and one of just three players on offense, who has started every game.

Gaffney may have had his best game last Sunday in the Redskins' 23-10 win over the New York Giants. He posted six catches for 86 yards, including clutch third- and fourth-down grabs.

“Jabar has been healthy and he has been a consistent route runner, consistent catching the ball,” quarterback Rex Grossman said. “That’s all you can ask for. He has a lot of talent. He’s a big receiver who knows exactly where to sit in zones. We’re on the same page.”

Gaffney’s relationship with Grossman is one that dates back to their freshman year in college at Florida. Even though they only started together for a season-and-a-half for the Gators, a bond was forged.

“Ever since Florida, Jabar has been my guy,” Grossman said. “He’s a very smart football player. Kyle [Shanahan] has done a good job of using those skills and getting him open.”

With 33 more yards and a touchdown, Gaffney will tie his career highs in those categories.

With another 158 yards, he can register the first 1,000-yard campaign of his career.

“That would be great -- my first 1,000-yard season comes back with Rex,” Gaffney mused. “We’re on the same page, he looks for me, and that was one of my personal goals when I came here this season. It would be nice if I can finally do it.”



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