When the Redskins signed DeSean Jackson earlier this week, first-year head coach Jay Gruden said the dynamic receiver immediately makes that team better.
Agreed. How could he not? He's a home-run hitter who is a proven threat on the outside.
But I won't agree just yet that Jackson's addition gives the Redskins the best 1-2 receiving tandem in the NFL. Right now, I won't say it's the best in the division.
And let me stress right now – as in this upcoming year.
Based off the entire offense, the quarterbacks involved, the supporting cast and the familiarity within the group, I'll take the Cowboys as the best 1-2 receiving duo in the NFL.
When you're dissecting the Cowboys and Redskins only, I don't think many will argue that the Cowboys have the first and fourth-best receivers while the Redskins have the second and third. You could also say there's a rather big gap between the third, Pierre Garcon, and the fourth-best wideout in Terrance Williams.
I think Williams is the key to this entire discussion. We know what Dez Bryant will be for the Cowboys and I like to think we know what Jackson will provide for the Redskins.
The wild card to the Cowboys' offense in 2014, in my opinion, is Williams. Obviously, the Cowboys feel like he's ready to take that next step. They cut Miles Austin and haven't had strong interest in signing a veteran receiver. We'll see how they address the position in the draft – with 11 picks they're likely to take at least one, maybe a couple of receivers. But, it's not expected they will take one early on.
All that comes back to Williams, who must make the expected leap that players make after their rookie season.
I think you will see a much better football player in 2014 than you saw last year, and last year really wasn't that bad. In fact, he was just a couple of catches away from having the best season any rookie receiver has ever had with the Cowboys. His 44 catches for 736 yards ranked third in club history among rookie receivers.
He might not have that "wow" factor that Dez has with his leaping ability, or Jackson's pure speed or the combination of the two that Garcon brings. But, Williams somehow knows how to get deep. He did it on his first play of the preseason back in August when he was running down the left sideline and Tony Romo just overthrew him.
He got deep against the Broncos for a clutch touchdown, and we all remember the huge play at Washington where his catch flipped the field and put the Cowboys in position to come back against the Redskins.
Right now, I think Dez and Williams are the best combo in the NFC East because they're in an offense that shouldn't have any hiccups moving forward. Scott Linehan's arrival is expected to only enhance the group, although like with any new move, time will certainly tell.
While I know my counterpart, David Helman, is not factoring Jason Witten into his argument of the best two receivers, you simply can't overlook the tight end's role in the equation. Witten's presence alone will open up things for the outside receivers like he has for a decade.
And if you think Alfred Morris does the same with his running style, I don't think DeMarco Murray is that far behind anymore in that debate.
All in all, I'd give edge to the Cowboys in terms of the supporting cast around the receivers. The fact that this offense has basically had the same principles in place since 2007, opposed to a new scheme that Gruden brings over, I'd give that continuity edge to the Cowboys as well.
So now it comes back to the receivers. And while we might see the Redskins' duo eventually pass the Cowboys, I'm thinking Williams steps up his play just enough, keeping this one-two punch atop the charts over the rest of the division.
At least for now, anyways.