Wide receivers coach Stan Hixon has two new players to work with this year: Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd. Hixon spoke to Redskins.com about the Redskins' wide receivers corps:
Q: By adding Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd to a group that includes Santana Moss, David Patten and James Thrash, among others, are you concerned at all if there will be enough balls to go around?
A: "From a receivers' point of view, they think they are always open. I'll tell you, some receivers are good about [spreading balls around]. Some guys want the ball every down because they know they can help the team win. I think we have both types of guys on this team, which is really good. In this league, I think everyone is respectful of everybody's abilities because they are all great players."
Q: Do you think having players like Randle El and Lloyd on the field, it will help Moss get open more?
A: "At the end of last season, when Santana was forced to get open, it was a big strain on him. I think he's really excited about two new additions. He knows it's going to make it even better for him compared to what he did last year. We all know we can be better."
Q: How would you describe each of the wide receivers' styles?
A: "I would say Randle El is more elusive with the ball. Santana is real explosive--he can go short or deep. Lloyd is a good route-runner, especially when he's one-on-one. He's polished. I think we have a good combination of styles. We'll make it work."
Q: Have you talked to David Patten about his role?
A: "We talked [recently]. We had a long conversation. David is very mature and he knows that, just like when he first came here, it's a matter of doing what's best for the team. He'll still contribute and he knows that. And he'll be fine. David was in a similar situation in New England where they rotated wide receivers. When he first came here, he said, 'Coach, we need to play more people, because that's what we did in New England.' They would have two wide receivers on one play, then go to four wide receivers. So we're going to keep the defenses guessing."
Q: When Lloyd played well against the Redskins in October 2005, did that pique your interest in him?
A: "Not really. I really didn't think about him until free agency. I had a list of about 25 receivers and went through the process of evaluating them. Obviously, with Brandon, making some one-handed catches, he stood out. And then also with Randle El, he was making defenders miss in space. He's multi-talented, with his punt returns and kick returns."
Q: There's not a lot of height in your receiving corps. Is that an issue?
A: "You know, that really doesn't bother me. Santana made the Pro Bowl at 5-9 last year. Steve Smith from Carolina was All-Pro at 5-9 last year. So height isn't that big of an issue."
Q: What about having more height in the red zone?
A: "In Kansas City, what they did last year [in the red zone] was they put [tight end] Tony Gonzalez out there. [Al Saunders, the Redskins' associate head coach-offense, guided the Chiefs offense last year.] So height doesn't bother me. You have all of these tall receivers in the league now, but the best two receivers last year were Smith and Moss. They played at the same height. In this league, it's all a matter of production on game day."
Q: Is it also that, with the way the bump-and-coverage rules have changed, it's easier for smaller receivers now?
A: "As you know, in this league, once the receiver is past five yards, the defender should be off of you. Once in a while they'll bump you and they'll call it, but sometimes they don't. We're strong enough to get downfield and make plays downfield. You don't have to be 6-2 to do that, you can be 5-10. If you have speed, just get the ball in the receivers hands and make the defenders miss. Height looks pretty when they're coming off the bus, but can they play?"