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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    PFW: Receivers don't make as much difference as teams think they will

    Receivers don't make as much difference as teams think they will
    By Don Pierson
    March 31, 2007

    There is a reason no wide receiver ever has won the Associated Press MVP award since its inception 50 years ago, not even Jerry Rice. In the grand scheme of things, wide receivers donít matter as much as wide receivers think they do.

    The 2006 season confirmed a notion that although receivers certainly are necessary, they also can be pretty much interchangeable. With some exceptions, and Rice would top the list, receivers seem to be sliding down the list of true difference-makers.

    Just ask Terrell Owens, who fired his publicist soon after his latest team was eliminated from the playoffs.

    Owens was at the forefront of a receiver exchange that dominated offseason news yet didnít seem to matter by the time the playoff games mattered.

    At the current rate, more receivers are going to need publicists. Without offensive lines, running backs, accurate quarterbacks and decent defenses, wide receivers are no more important than expensive window dressing.

    This was not the first year that rotating receivers ended up as little more than curiosities in new uniforms. Remember Randy Moss? He was the Terrell Owens of his day, the big news of the 2005 offseason after the Vikings traded him to the Raiders. Yes, he fell into a black hole in Oakland two years ago and now isnít even the most famous receiver named Moss.

    That would be Santana Moss of the Redskins, or is it the Jets? And if Laveranues Coles leaves the Jets for the second time, will anyone notice?

    The Pro Football Hall of Fame has elected only three wide receivers in the last decade ó Lynn Swann, John Stallworth and James Lofton. In 1985, when Rice was a rookie, only four receivers had 600 catches. Now there are 42. But as the numbers go up, is the impact going down?

    Andre Johnson led the league in receptions this season with 103. He plays for the Texans, in case you didnít know. They won six games.

    The Lions drafted WRs Charles Rogers, Roy Williams and Mike Williams with their No. 1 picks in 2003, 2004, and 2005. They finally hit on one ó free agent Mike Furrey, who happened to lead the NFC in receptions with 98. A year ago, he caught zero as a defensive back whom the Rams let go in free agency.

    The Lions were 3-13, by the way, following 5-11, 6-10 and 5-11 seasons.

    The playoff teams are not immune to receiver folly. Because he would have it no other way, Owens was the biggest-name receiver to move last season. The Cowboys were going to blossom with him, and the Eagles were going to fold without him.

    Owens watched the Eagles play the Saints in the divisional round of last season's playoffs as the Eagles used one of the Saintsí former receivers, Dontť Stallworth, to help them forget Owens. The Saints replaced Stallworth with seventh-round rookie Marques Colston, the most prolific wide receiver of the NFCís final four teams.

    If you can find a Colston or a T.J. Houshmandzadeh or a Donald Driver in the seventh round of the draft, or a Jerricho Cotchery in the fourth round or a Hines Ward in the third round, why would anybody need to worry about where the next crop is coming from?

    The Bears paid big money to sign proven veteran Muhsin Muhammad before the 2005 season, filling a void after the 2004 trade of Marty Booker. Recent statistics indicate they might be the same person.

    The Bears resisted the urge to overpay Pittsburghís Antwaan Randle El in free agency, sticking with unknowns Bernard Berrian and Mark Bradley and drafting Devin Hester to assume what would have been Randle Elís punt-returning role. Not a bad decision.

    Likewise, the Steelers didnít break their bank to keep Randle El, instead drafting Santonio Holmes, who caught more passes and posted a better punt-return average than Randle El did in Washington.

    The Redskins not only sought Randle El, but they also overpaid San Franciscoís leading receiver, Brandon Lloyd. In Washington, Lloyd caught 23 passes for zero touchdowns. The Redskins won fewer games than they had won last season; the ***** won more.

    The Seahawks snapped up Deion Branch when the Patriots apparently werenít overly impressed by his Super Bowl MVP credentials.

    Besides losing their top receiver, Branch, the Patriots also lost their second-leading receiver, David Givens, to the Titans. So, the Patriots signed Reche Caldwell after the Chargers let him go in free agency. The Patriots also signed Jabar Gaffney, who was released by the Eagles after signing as a free agent from the Texans.

    On his third team in 10 months, Gaffney just happened to lead all receivers (104 yards) in the wild-card round of the postseason.

    The Seahawks also signed Nate Burleson from the Vikings and lost Joe Jurevicius to the Browns, who got all excited because Jurevicius has played in Super Bowls for the Giants, Buccaneers and Seahawks. Evidently, he wasnít the reason those teams got there. The Browns *didnít mind when they let their leading receiver, Antonio Bryant, go to San Francisco, where the ***** used him to replace Lloyd. (Bryant was released following the season, before the start of free agency.)

    The Browns won four games, the ***** seven and the Redskins five. Their receivers did little more than fill out the huddle.

    Unless youíre the Colts, who live and die with the arm of Peyton Manning and the hands of WRs Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, it appears you can find suitable receivers just about anywhere you look ó free agency, high in the draft, low in the draft, practice squad, via trade or on the street.

    The Broncos were going to take the next step by adding gifted Javon Walker from the Packers. Ex-Bronco Ashley Lelie was going to give Atlantaís Michael Vick a ďgo-to guy.Ē The Broncos and Falcons won fewer games than they did last year, and the Packers won twice as many after replacing Walker with rookie Greg Jennings.

    The Bills let go of leading WR Eric Moulds, who went to the Texans to complement Johnson. The Bills brought back Peerless Price, a failure in Atlanta, and the Bills won more games than they did with Moulds in í05.

    Four days before the Cowboys signed Owens, they released Keyshawn Johnson, who quickly joined the Panthers as the much-needed replacement for Muhammad, the former complement to Steve Smith. The Panthers went from 11-5 to 8-8, and even though it looks like Smith didnít make any more difference this year than any other receiver, there are plenty of teams in the league that are glad they didnít have to face him.

    But is it any wonder that receivers enjoy those show-off endzone celebrations? If they didnít go out of their way to be noticed, nobody could tell whether they were coming or going. By the way, did Chad Johnson play last year?

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  2. #2
    UtterBlitz's Avatar
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    Re: PFW: Receivers don't make as much difference as teams think they will

    It is probably a true statement. WRs are fun to watch, but they don't make or break a team.
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  3. #3
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    Re: PFW: Receivers don't make as much difference as teams think they will

    Receivers only touch the ball around 10 times a game and get it thrown at them a few times more than that. Its not surprising that they are not usually "difference makers" all by themselves.

    That said, this guy way overstates his case. Any team that doesn't game plan for a guy like Torry Holt is going to pay for it. Yeah, you need a QB who can get it to him and a line that can protect the QB, but there are offensive plays to deal with that too.

    The author also forgets to point out that there are lots of other things wrong with those teams; does anyone think Dallas was worse because of Terrell Owens (on the field anyway)? Did losing Moulds really improve the Bills? Well, not really...it was other things that happened that made them better. And its not like we haven't seem teams with a single good QB (Steve Young with Tampa) or running back (Barry Sanders) struggle when the rest of the offesne stunk. Football is a team game and that applies to every position. Heck, even Ray Lewis didn't look so hot without big fat guys in front of him.

    So I'm not going to restructure my defense for Brandon Lloyd, but I'm also not going to pretend that the idea of facing off against the Cardinal's trio doesn't affect my defense either.

  4. #4
    keith m. klink Guest

    Re: PFW: Receivers don't make as much difference as teams think they will

    And you wonder why everyone blames the worlds problems and whoe's on NICK. well thats because it's always his fault. now he just ruined the whole game of football for everyone. EVERYONE GO HOME , NICK MESSED UP THE WHOLE WIDE RECEIVER THING . sometimes telling the truth hurts. good post nick. very well thought out and accurate info as always . more people should read the way you write your posts , and emulate your accuracy . KK.

  5. #5
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: PFW: Receivers don't make as much difference as teams think they will

    Quote Originally Posted by keith m. klink View Post
    And you wonder why everyone blames the worlds problems and whoe's on NICK. well thats because it's always his fault. now he just ruined the whole game of football for everyone. EVERYONE GO HOME , NICK MESSED UP THE WHOLE WIDE RECEIVER THING . sometimes telling the truth hurts. good post nick. very well thought out and accurate info as always . more people should read the way you write your posts , and emulate your accuracy . KK.
    I told you it's Nick's fault. Now, he is impersonating Don Pierson!
    Quote Originally Posted by this articles by-line
    Receivers don't make as much difference as teams think they will
    By Don Pierson
    March 31, 2007
    Curse you, Nick Seiler !!! Curse you !!!
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  6. #6
    bigredman's Avatar
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    Re: PFW: Receivers don't make as much difference as teams think they will

    Rep to you Nick buddy for this post...although I would add that your great QB/WR duos of the past all benefited from very good offensive lines.
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