The Redskins could go into next season with the existing wide receiver corps, head coach Joe Gibbs said on Thursday. That group of receivers includes a pair of newcomers in Santana Moss and David Patten along with holdovers James Thrash, Taylor Jacobs, Darnerien McCants and Antonio Brown.
"I think right now, we would be satisfied to go ahead into the season the way we are [at wide receiver]," Gibbs said. "But I wouldn't rule out the fact that, if anybody becomes available, we're going to consider him. And I wouldn't rule out doing something in the draft.
"But I think right now we feel really comfortable with that group."
Both of the team's starters from last season, Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner, will likely be playing elsewhere next season. Coles, unhappy in the Redskins' offense, has already been traded to the New York Jets this week for Moss, a speedster who can also serve as a return specialist on special teams.
Gardner's status is uncertain. The Redskins granted Gardner permission to seek a trade two months ago and Gardner's agents have been in steady contact with the team.
"We have to have value there because Rod is a valuable guy," Gibbs said. "If we can find something that works for us, then that would be great. If not, Rod's on the team and we'll have to go on down the road [with Gardner]."
In Moss and Patten, the Redskins have upgraded their speed at the wide receivers corps. But both Moss and Patten are 5-10 in height and Jacobs and Thrash are listed as 6-0, creating a smallish group of receivers.
Given his 6-3, 214-pound frame, McCants could find himself with a significantly larger role next season, Gibbs said. Last year, he only played in five games, catching five passes for 71 yards and no touchdowns. This came after a solid 2003 campaign in which he logged 27 catches for 360 yards and six TDs.
"[Darnerien McCants] is definitely in the picture for us," Gibbs said. "I have talked to his agent several times and I had a sit-down meeting with Darnerien. I told him what we expect next year. And we talked about last year. Obviously a big receiver brings certain things to the table, and Darnerien is a big guy. He's been a playmaker in the red area. That's part of his package that he brings to the football team."
Asked about the impact that smaller receivers would have on the offense, Gibbs said: "We've had Gary Clark, Ricky Sanders and Alvin Garrett, some very explosive smaller guys. What I've found in our receivers is that explosiveness and the ability to make things happen on the field has less to do with size."
With the focus on speed, Gibbs hopes that the receivers can break away past cornerbacks to get open downfield, thereby producing more big plays on offense. The Redskins' offense ranked 30th overall in the offseason last season.
But the focus of the offense remains on Clinton Portis and the ground game, Gibbs emphasized. With Moss and Patten on board, the potential for a quick strike could open up the offense even more.
"What we're hoping there is to get big plays in the passing game," Gibbs said. "Certainly I think we're capable of running the ball, and if we run the ball well, it should help our passing game. We're looking for a better average-per-catch, which was a source of frustration for us last year."