Friday Conversation: Pierre Garcon

The Washington Redskins viewed him as a No. 1 receiver even if others disagreed. A year ago the Redskins went 9-1 with Pierre Garcon, who signed here in 2012 after four years with Indianapolis. This season, with no more toe issues, he’s been the most consistent player offensively, with a team-best 29 catches for 339 yards and two touchdowns – he’s on pace for 116 catches, which would be 46 more than his career high. Garcon also made news this summer when he said the Redskins’ offense could be the best ever. Last week he said he thinks they can still be that good: “We have a lot of good players. We have a lot of athletes. It’s a tough task; we still have time to turn it around.”

Are you playing the way you want to play?

Pierre Garcon: It’s a start. It’s good to get the ball and catch the ball and make plays. There’s a lot of things I can do better. We’re all coming back from injuries, [Robert Griffin III] is coming back and still getting the system down and trying to do different things we did from last year. Guys are picking up on our scheme. It’s a good start. There are things we can improve on, but there are some positives we can build on.

Where did you build on last season?

Garcon: Just learning the playbook, getting more comfortable to understand what the coach wants and sees and what the coach wants us to accomplish on certain plays. The physical part is nothing outrageous, it’s just being in shape and strong and playing for 60 minutes.

Do you like when people say you play angry?

Garcon: Yeah, I don’t mind. I don’t really care what they say. You can’t look at compliments too much. You just have to be happy with yourself. You have to go out and play hard. If I’m showing my teammates I’m giving everything I’ve got, that’s what matters.

Do you allow yourself to look at your numbers?

Garcon: You see the numbers because we’re all looking at football numbers. We know who has talent and who doesn’t have talent and who can get better and what we can get better at. Some guys have great numbers and aren’t that great, and some guys have bad numbers and are great.

Which category are you?

Garcon: I’m just trying to keep my job. That’s my number one thing.

What did you learn from playing with guys like Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, Peyton Manning?

Garcon: Everything. Playing Division III football to NFL wide receiver is a lot different, having to run routes and learn coverages and get off press and get off everything. So I had to learn everything. I learned from them and took notes and did what they did and stayed with it and continued to work with it even after I left.

For a Division III guy, that was a good spot to go then, right?

Garcon: That’s what helped me get to where I’m at now. I got from D-III to watching a lot of guys, a lot of Pro Bowlers and watched them do what they did. I continued to grow. I’m sure they’re proud of me now.

Did you see them do things right away that you knew you needed to learn or did it take time?

Garcon: You know right away with those guys, Marvin and Reggie, they’re doing what they want to do, so you watch them. The coach tells us to watch the guy ahead of you like they tell any rookie. So you watch what they’re doing and pay attention to them. I watched everything they did and I asked them what they were watching in a defense, what they see and how they run routes, how they do everything and how to communicate with the quarterback. I took whatever they knew and put it to myself and added a little juice to it.

At what point did you feel like you were ready to take off?

Garcon: I’ve been feeling like I was ready to take the next step. Things happen and injuries happen. You can’t dwell on injuries. Every game I can’t wait to play, can’t wait to show what I can do. I try to take advantage of every snap I get. I’m still learning and trying to get better.

What are you still learning?

Garcon: Learning to see what kind of leverage the defense is playing and how they’re playing, how to get in and out of breaks, making clean breaks, catching with your hands and seeing the coverage before it happens. The little things.