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My Opinion on WRs

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AndyJohnson, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    So much talk about Branch and WRs around here,I am going give WR opinion on the Wr position in general.

    Wrs in the NFL are jdged by production, but the reality is their production has much more to do with the situation they are in than their specific ability.

    In 1994 Michael Timpson, Vincent Brisby, and Ray Crittenden put up good numbers in the Patriot offense. I didnt look it up, but I believe each one of them caught fewer passes in the conbined rest of their careers than they did in their last year playing a big role here. (I believe they also had decent 1995s)
    More than any other position on the field, you see wide, wide differences in individual WRs production year to year, with different coaches, teams, systems, or even on the same team in the same system.
    Troy Brown was not a productive WR up unitl the day he became a starter and then was roughly a 100 catch guy for 3 years.

    Pas offenses in the NFL today are about designing a play that will get a receiver to an open spot against a certain coverage. Capable receivers get open and get the ball when they are put on the field, because offenses are designed to run combination passes that run a receiver into the spot in the coverage that is weak. Recevier Bs route is set up by receivers As route.

    Good pass offenses are 90% about the QB and 10% about the WRs. Their success is either enhanced or hampered by the system that designs plays appropriately to coverage, and the QB that reads the coverage properly.

    There are many qualities that are important in a WR.
    Speed and quickness of course are important, but the reality is that the gap among NFL WRs is so small in these areas that it is neglible.
    The ability to understand coverage and run the route properly is probably the most important factor.
    The ability to catch the ball is just as critical, but again, there are very few NFL WRs who just cant catch. One very important factor is the WRs ability to judge and adjust to the deep ball, by the way, as many are not real god in this area.

    Flat out speed helps, but it is almost non-existant that a WR is ione on one with a corner and both run as fast as they can for a bomb.
    The ability to run after the catch is more important than speed or quickness, altouhgh speed and quickness are factors in that, but they are far from the only factors.

    You could take 50% of the WRs in the NFL, maybe more, put them in a system that is well designed with a good QB that throws a lot, and they will put up large numbers.

    The fact that WRs are judged by statistics is one of the biggest anomolies in football. Numbers from a WR are influenced by:
    -How much the team throws
    -whether its running game is a factor
    -The design of the plays and system
    -Whether the QB favors one more than others, or spreads the ball around. Perfect example is Bledsoe vs Brady. Bledsoe has always held the ball giving his #1 opportunity longer to come open, while Brady delievers the ball when a receiver is open. As the progressions go, in essense:
    "Open" to Bledsoe is more aggressive with the primary target than it is to Brady, then less aggressive with the secondary targets. That is Bledsoe will throw to a 'less open' primary target than Brady would, but pass up the secondary options unless they are wide open, and go back to the primary target.
    -The ability of the QB
    -Whether they are on the field or not
    -Whether the play calling makes them a first, second, third, etc option, also influenced by the TEs, RBs, QBs arm strength, etc
    -Whether the team consistently plays from ahead or behind
    -The quality of the OL giving you more time to get open.


    It is almost never seen that a good QB ends up with bad WRs no matter who is put in there. Replace WRs when you have a good QB, the new suddenly appear to also be good ones.
    It is very common to have 'good' WRs be unproductive with bad QBs.

    Good QBs produce in the passing game when their WRs are injured. Good Wrs lose production when their QB is injured.

    It is very ironic to me that since the 80s and the change in NFL passing games that eminated with Bill Walsh, the game has changed to make it easy for WRs to put up #s, to design plays and systems that GET THEM OPEN, and any WR who just runs his routes catches a ton of passes, that WRs are now being considered the 'talent' in the league and vital to success.

    Guys, if there is one position on the football field where the other 10 players are used to set you up to succeed, its WR. I have absolutely no doubt that a good QB with average WRs will be substantially more productive than an average QB with outstanding WRs. Of course then the 'average WRs' would be considered good. (Like Branch and Givens).

    By the way, where Branch is concerned, IMO, his best strengths (hands, quickness getting in and out of the route, and ability to run after the catch) are the ones that are most important in our system. Branch will ADD TO what Brady can do, but not having Branch will not come close to crippling Bradys passing game. Someone else will run the route (the other 10 players jobs will assist him in getting open) and catch the pass that Brady will deliever on time and accurately.
     
  2. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    I think you make some excellent points. Playing with a HOF QB always helps a WR, no question. But the relationship goes both ways. The mere fact that a WR plays with a great QB does not make that WR average. With Branch, we know the offense is capable of winning a SB, and we've seen him make remarkable plays and torch the best defenses in the NFL in the biggest games. Only Jerry Rice has ever had two SB performances like Branch has had, and many receivers have had HOF QBs throwing to them in SBs. As Brady said this morning on WEEI, when asked if the offense is capable of winning the SB without Branch, let's hope we don't have to find out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2006
  3. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    My point is that if Branch hadnt played in that game, Givens, Brown, Graham, Faulk, Bethel (who did contribute in the playoffs that year) would have caught passes from Brady.

    Im not saying that you can plug Joe Vanilla in there with no difference, but I am saying the difference in the next best WR on the roster playing in the place of whatever WR is not nearly as large as is commonly believed.
     
  4. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    #75 Jersey

    I think wide receivers's are the most overrated individual players.

    A decent talent in the right system excels, asked to do more than he's comfortable with, he's a bum.

    When they have any kind of stats, they want to hold out, talk on their cell phones or give autographs in the end zone.

    It's no accident the Pats have not spent a 1st on a receiver, (although Jackson's close).

    Having said that, I'd love to find a vet who's comfortable in our system whether or not Branch returns.

    There are always injuries at the position and I don't see reliable players like Dwight in reserve.
     
  5. jct

    jct Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    My Predictions:

    Player Catches
    Branch 60-80
    Jackson 40
    T Brown 40
    Cadwell 32
    Graham 20
    Childress 10
    Andrews 5
    RBs 80
    TEs/Vrabel 100

    Compared to last years production:

    Deion Branch 78
    David Givens 59
    Troy Brown 39
    Ben Watson 29
    Tim Dwight 19
    Kevin Faulk 29
    Daniel Graham 16
    Patrick Pass 22
    Andre Davis 9
    Corey Dillon 22
    Heath Evans 10
    Bethel Johnson 4
    Christian Fauria 8
    Brandon Childress 3
    Amos Zereoue 1
    Mike Vrabel 3
    Tom Ashworth 1
     
  6. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    D@mn straight....... The game is won in the TRENCHES!!!!!!!!
     
  7. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    If Branch had been injured in those Sbs, no doubt Brady would have passed to the others in his place. But with the same success? Branch was the #1 receiver on this team for a reason. Within the system there is room for individual brilliance. Even if we decide to move away from Branch after this holdout, and there are good reasons for people to think so (although I disagree with them), trying to convince ourselves that what he did for us was nothing special seems like wishful thinking, a kind of whistling past the grave yard. Bottom line is, if this ends badly (which I don't think it will, I remain optimistic) Branch, the Pats, Brady and all the fans will suffer. All the more reason for Chayut to resign , be fired or capitulate immediately.
     
  8. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That is not what I am saying at all. Branch has been a great player here. I dont think you can find 10-15 WRs who could do a better job in our system. But my point is that WR is a postion, moreso than any other on the field, where you can plug different players in and not have much dropoff, whether that is a result of his replacement being as productive, or more likely a difference in play design, calling and scheme transfering that production across numerous players.

    Maybe I can put it better this way.
    Is there a dropoff from Branch to whoever else we put in there. Absolutley. But the impact of that dropoff at WR is less harmful than at any other position on the field, expect perhaps TE or FB.
    If you take out a 'stud' WR and replace him with a guy who just runs the right routes, and does what he is supposed to, you dont lose much, because getting to the right spot is the biggest part of the job.
     
  9. arrellbee

    arrellbee Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    AJ - Interesting observations - well thought out. Thanks.
     
  10. arrellbee

    arrellbee Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    An interesting counterpoint - really a different topic - would be WRs who transcend the QB. Randy Moss comes to mind. Where the QB just has to have a gun and get it to the WR to make the one-on-one play.

    Obviously the best results come from a top QB AND a WR somewhere in the top of the #1 WR ranks. Then you have an awfully strong offensive weapon. As we know, though, that doesn't buy you a superbowl.

    AJs point is still well made. There are examples of even just competent QBs who win superbowls without a top 15 WR.
     
  11. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think the case you make ie Moss actually supports the argument. The weak QB just gets the ball to Moss at the expense of an effective offense.
    Moss will get his numbers with any QB, but with a bad one--see last year---he does it at the expense of the offense being good.
    Clearly there are talented WRs who will overcome all issues to put up numbers, but good QB or bad, you probably wont see much difference in the overall effectiveness of an offense without them, because the QB would have to utilize other receivers rather than lean on one guy. The good ones will do it, the bad ones will struggle with or without them.
    Has Moss or any other WR made a bad QB good?
     
  12. gomezcat

    gomezcat It's SIR Moderator to you Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Your points are backed up by something I read, I think on si.com, which made the point that it is often the system rather than the receiver. The belief was said to be widespread throughout the league, i.e. that receivers could be slotted into systems more easily than was thought to be the case. Perhaps the exception to this belief would be Matt Millen, who seems to think that good receivers a good quarterback make. :D
     

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