Friday, November 18, 2005

NFL Disappointments and Surprises: Receivers

To continue the theme of the last couple of posts I'll move on to disappointments and surprises among the receiving corps. There are many guys at Wide Receiver that haven’t had the type of season so far that they or their teams have expected. This is a tough position to label because there is so much stuff that relates to the wide-out’s performance that is out of their control. The most obvious being whether or not you have a QB that can get you the ball or a coach that is willing to throw it. And really, all hell could break loose in the next few games for some of these guys and they could suddenly look very productive.

- Randy Moss’s 629 yards aren’t bad but he’s only caught 39 balls. So far, this deal hasn’t been all it was cracked up to be for the Raiders or the Vikings. I’m wondering though, does Moss end meetings with Al Davis with the words, “can you dig it baby”? And even more important, does Al respond with, “you bet your ass I can dig it!” ?

-Some might include Muhsin Muhammed on this list after his breakout year in 04. But really his season hasn’t been that disappointing relative to expectations. Come on, he signed with the Bears! Did anyone really expect him to go to the Pro-Bowl this year? The Bears aren’t a bad team but they are not going to light up anyone through the air. The only thing I wonder is if he convinced himself he was going to change the Bear’s offensive approach by showing up or if he was honest with himself and realized that the only numbers that were important to him were the ones in his bank account? I’m guessing it was the latter. I’m not out to brand him a bad guy. It's just that its a little ridiculous that he would go seemingly for more money when reports are that the Panthers offer and the Bears offer weren’t significantly different. Whatever the amounts, the Bears offered more. --At any rate, I don't think he can make the claim he was leaving to play for a winner. The Panthers were a decent team and he had no idea if the Bears were going to be. --Ok then. I’m done.

- Eric Moulds and Lee Evans both are under 400 yards for the season. Disappointing because both of these guys have great hands and are good receivers. Maybe Losman has it figured out now and the passing game will improve. Maybe my stunning good looks will continue to improve with age. These are things that we just don’t have answers for at this time.

-For various reasons Joe Horn (I’m sorry about Aaron Brooks Joe, I really am), Issac Bruce (injuries) and Michael Clayton (?) have not put up the numbers this year that we were expecting. They plan to personally apologize to fantasy owners worldwide.

- But my pick for most disappointing receiver is a three way Detroit tie. Charles Rogers, Mike Williams, and Roy Williams (although Roy’s last game was a real teaser) were supposed to be a three headed monster this year. Instead they have joined their QB’s in a game of “let’s see how fast we can get Mooch fired”. It’s fun, everyone’s playing, and there’s no assembly required. Be warned though, Matt Millen gets pissed when he doesn’t get to go first. -- None of these guys have over 310 yards receiving and the Detroit press has been all over their asses this season. Figuratively speaking of course. Because otherwise that’s not a pretty picture.

How about pleasant surprises at the Receiver position?

-Although Plaxico Burress has always been seen as talented…and tall.. you have to be a little surprised at his immediate success in NY (48 catches, 706 yards). His numbers already are not too far off his stats for the past couple of years with the Steelers.

-Joey Galloway (51 grabs, 862 yards) has been reborn in Tampa and looks like the guy who put two 1000 yard seasons back to back in 97 & 98. Where’d he go anyway? He’s like the guy in the horror flicks that goes out for a smoke and only comes back after he’s been possessed by a crazed spirit. So who’s possessing Joey now? Anyway, horror flick character, “Chucky” Gruden doesn’t care as long as he keeps it up.

- Dallas’ Terry Glenn is another guy who has found resurgence with a new (and old) coach. He’s got 713 yards and has been a favorite of Bledsoe’s on the deep routes. He just has to keep reminding Drew that he' the guy in the white uniform.

-And to plug a Ram guy here (and an alum of both my alma maters, Snow College and Utah State), I’ll mention St. Louis wide receiver, Kevin Curtis. He got some press that I noticed (yes I'm biased and you can check out a couple of good articles on him here and here ) coming into the season because of his breakout performance in the playoffs last year (where he outplayed both Holt and Bruce against the Seahawks and Falcons), but still he’s not a guy many people have heard of. For a nobody, he’s got an impressive 587 yards on 40 catches.

-And finally although, they were listed in my mid-season report as two of the best receivers of the season so far, I think you have to say they are also the two most surprising receivers of the year. I'm talking of course about Santana Moss of the Redskins and Steve Smith of the Panthers. Their stats are almost identical (Smith has 58 catches & 937 yards while Moss has 51 catches & 935 yards) I don’t think anybody at the beginning of the season had these guys pegged as being 1 & 2 in the receiving stats this late into the season. They’ve been huge for little guys.


The Zoner said...

Muhammad has been great. We haven't had a "pro" like that here in Chicago for a long time. I just love him. Obviously with Grossman getting hurt, Hutchinson waived and the rookie Orton starting, Muhammad was not going to put up huge numbers. But he is a weapon and he is an excellent blocker. If the time comes that Orton develops Muhammad will get his numbers.

Sports Litter said...

I would definitely give the most surprising award to santana moss.

Most disappointing .. where's T.O. on that list? He disappointed the Eagles organization and millions of fantasy football owners.

dolphinfan said...

T.O. has got to be the most disappointing receiver this year.

Tony said...

Maybe he's juding them based on stats...not on off-field stuff.

The Armchair Quarterback said...

You know, T.O. was intially on my list because I figured he was done for the season and ultimately if your going to spend the rest of the season lifting weights in your driveway instead of the Eagles practice facility then it's got to be bummer of a year. But what if the arbitration goes his way and the Eagles are forced to take him back? And what if he hypnotizes Andy Reid into thinking he's Marvin Harrison and he plays in every game from here on out? I didn't want to get to premature and totally ignore this very reasonable possibility.

Greg said...

I think Mushin Muhammed wanted to be the #1 guy, which is why he went to Chicago. Pulled a Peerless Price (with similar results). He knew Steve Smith would be back, and the featured guy. Might as well get paid and be the go-to guy. Granted, Kyle Orton is the King of the 5-Yard Pass, but you know, whatever. But all things considered, he's having as good a season as you can on that offense.

Yeah, T.O. should be on that list, but Randy Moss has been terrible . . . and he plays. Considering the expectations on him and that Raiders offense (and considering he was a 1st round pick in most fantasy leagues), I think he and T.O. win this prestigious award.

Reggie Wayne has sucked too. Just wanted to throw that in there. But he's getting better.

Cutthroat Pirates said...

I have to agree that Santana Moss has been unreal this season. It also helps that he is my start on my fantasy team. I also must say that I am disappointed in Michael Clayton with my Bucs. He had a great year last year and this year he has not done a thing. At least Old man Galloway has found the foutain of youth.

Todd said...

I have been a Panthers fan since day one and although Moose was an extremely popular player, he basically had three great seasons out of nine (one of those was coincidentally, a contract year). Moose is the the most devastating run blocking WR in the NFL and it appears sometimes that he would rather block that catch the ball. When Steve Smith was named a starter in the 2002 season, Moose's days as the go-to-guy were pretty much over. I like the guy, but he will never put up the numbers he did in 1999, 2000, and 2004.