Davis and Reed create more options for offense

The following is an excerpt from John Keim's mailbag at Redskins Confidential. Read more at washingtonexaminer.com/sports/redskins-confidential.

How can Kyle [Shanahan] use [Jordan] Reed/[Fred] Davis to open up the passing game? - @jansjay

John Keim »

It allows you to keep two athletic tight ends in a base package, which means if you have two tight ends and two running backs in the game, so the defense is in a bind. That's a running formation, but with this group, it can be an effective passing look, too. In that look, it will create mismatches. Reed has the ability to split out wide and be effective because he can run like a receiver. I saw him run routes from the line at Florida, but if you line him up there, it's a giveaway that a pass is likely coming because he can't block. You could line him up in the backfield a la Aaron Hernandez (the Redskins did this at times last year with Niles Paul) and create another mismatch. But I also think if Davis and Reed come through, you simply have two more athletic tight ends catching passes than you did at the end of last season. That alone opens anything up.

Do you think it will be a good idea for [Robert Griffin III] to play at least one preseason game to make sure his knee holds up after game action? - @katie11074

John Keim » Yes, I do. But for reasons other than just that. It's more to get a little game action against someone else before the season starts. I think they'll know how his knee is holding up after a string of practices. If he just goes and plays a couple series and doesn't run their true offense, they might not truly know how his knee will hold up. Remember the differences in what we saw last summer and what we saw once the season began? There will be tests -- fleeing the pocket vs. Chicago, for example. But he'll get some of those in practice too.

I haven't read much about [Leonard] Hankerson, how's he looking so far? Have you noticed improvements in his routes & concentration? - @MJ_TWISI

John Keim »

Right now, receivers tend to look good. There's no contact. I also expect a guy in his third year with talent to look good in May. Let's see when the games begin in August. But Hankerson has looked solid. His focus improved last year, though he still dropped passes (like in the playoff game to Seattle) and short-armed a couple others. Hankerson could develop into a solid No. 3 receiver (some of the coaches think he can be a No. 2). I don't like his feet in the open field, when trying to shake a defender after the catch. But he was good in and out of breaks; saw him create some separation in those cases. The bulk of his catches came against zone coverage, but his routes were fine.