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Small ball: short quick receivers might be key to NFL success

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by jmt57, Jul 3, 2009.

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  1. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Small ball: Short, quick receivers might be key to NFL success by Derek Zetlin of NESN

    I hadn't really thought about this since there still seems to be so much hype on tall receivers in the NFL. But with the rule changes and emphasis on enforcement of certain rules (e.g., Polian's work on the competition committee to have the five yard chuck rule more rigidly enforced a few years ago) value in a receiver may have shifted away from big tall guys who can jump, in favor of quick, speedy, shifty receivers.

    And it has also had another effect on some team's roster; the near extinction of the fullback.
     
  2. Scouse Patriot

    Scouse Patriot 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I think the key is having both. Having a variety of recievers definately mixes it up, you then have the mixture of short, speedy guys with low center of gravity to make the cuts and routes short to mid range and you have those tall guys for over the top.
     
  3. aurakilla

    aurakilla Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    i might be wrong, but i just always viewed it as without a deep threat the shorter routes become easier to cover?

    like without moss welkers routes get more attention rather then focusing to down field?


    i may be wrong but i agree with the you need both hypothesis
     
  4. NEGoldenAge

    NEGoldenAge Banned

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    Would you want ALL short receivers in the red zone? Getting to the red zone is important, but the ability to put the ball into the endzone is at least as important. Say you're a db. Who'd you rather be covering when it's first and goal from the 9 yard line, Randy Moss or Wes Welker? Who's going to get more attention from a defense? I believe smaller-type receivers are important, but you have to put the ball into the endzone.
     
  5. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Does a team's deep threat have to be tall?

    Steve Smith: 5'9"
    Santana Moss: 5'10"
    Joey Galloway: 5'11"
    Greg Jennings: 5'11"
    Torry Holt: 6'0"
    Marvin Harrison: 6'0"
    Roddy White: 6'0"
     
  6. Mike the Brit

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    Absolutely not, of course -- think also Santonio Holmes (5'11"). Moss is an exception, being both a great deep threat and someone who can outjump DBs. The classic combo seems to be something like Steve Smith plus Muhsin Muhammad or Chad Johnson plus TJ Houshmandzadeh (small and speedy plus big but not so fast) with a possible, third, slot receiver in the Ricky Proehl/Wes Welker mould.

    Oh, and Wes Welker is definitely a threat in the red zone -- just a threat of a different kind. You don't throw him a jump ball in the end zone, but, if you get the ball in his hands within five yards of the end zone, odds are he'll beat the defenders to get it in.
     
  7. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree that big and slow is not a good combination. I simply don't understand the reasoning of not wanting high-quality tall receivers like Moss. He runs the 40 in about 4.3.

    With regard to Maclin, he is a huge talent, and a tremedous value when he was picked. I believe he is also a top returner. Philly did very well indeed to draft him.
     
  8. Captain Cliche

    Captain Cliche On the Game Day Roster

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    This goes hand in hand with a quick, accurate quarterback.
     
  9. Box_O_Rocks

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    How many times have we seen Troy Brown, The Twig that shall only be alluded to, or Wes making those quick catch and turn plays near the goal line? Then you have David Givens and Randy Moss dominating the back of the end zone. Randy does more circus catches, D-Giv was more of a power forward screening out the defender.

    - The first key for any receiver, regardless of size, is to get open. Some do it with speed, some quickness, some body control and position.
    - The second part of the process is catching the ball.
    - Then you can get into YAC, some guys are more power runners, others just make people miss.

    There were smurfs back in the old 80's Redskins. There have always been smurfs in the league, some have speed and quickness, some just quickness, but the key is they get open and catch the ball.

    I suspect part of the desire for big receivers is the difficulty of finding a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning who can thread the needle and put the ball where only the receiver can make the play (see the recent Hobbs transcript Chris Price did for us). If you have a Kevin O'Connell who is having trouble with his short ball, you give him a big receiver and he throws it high and lets the receiver make a play - he doesn't have to develop his accuracy. That's not to say O'Connell will never develop accuracy, he has the luxury of working on it while playing behind Brady - but if he was on a team that needed him to start 'right away,' he might be better off with a big 6'3"-6'5" 220 possession receiver who can go up over the DB and take a hit.

    As for the people who claim Wes gets his opportunities because of Randy - Bill Belichick and the pre-Parcells Dolphins offer exhibit one for why you would be welcome as assistants for Randy Mueller's next GM job (if he ever gets one).
     
  10. ctpatsfan77

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    True. . . . he was willing to cough up a 2 for Welker before getting Stallworth and Moss. . . .
     
  11. Joker

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    Size means almost nothing.

    If Bugeyes makes that catch in the EZ we beat the Colts and go to the ball. Making plays is all that counts. Steve Largent..Raymond Berry..Bilettnikoff...the list is endless.Make plays and superstars like Moss and Owens become even more dangerous. We have some pretty good playmakers and a recent acquisition slated to be our 3rd WR ain't too shabby either. Health...THAT is what's most important
     
  12. RoughingthePasser

    RoughingthePasser Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    It's not rocket science.

    It's about timing and the match-ups.
     
  13. RoughingthePasser

    RoughingthePasser Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    .....and the GAPS too:cool:
     
  14. Mike the Brit

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    Marvin Harrison made half of his catches down on his knees ...
     
  15. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Separation is key. Long speed takes more time to spearate. Quickness takes exact precision.

    At the end of the day the recievers (regardless of height or speed) that can create separation are going to succeed and those that can not are going to be unemployed, unless they are ST demons.
     
  16. NEGoldenAge

    NEGoldenAge Banned

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    I do believe that smaller, agile receivers can be very productive, and have a very important roll in the NFL. However, I was pretty confident that height would be a huge factor in getting in the endzone, where there usually a lot of players in a small area. Although I can only speculate on the reasons, it seemed to me that a lot of people don't want height to be a big factor.

    The sheer number of people discarding height as an unimportant trait in a reciever made me seriously question something I had thought was intuitively obvious. This bugged the crap outta me, so I looked at the numbers.

    I tried to list the top 10 receivers in TD's the last three seasons, but because of ties, I had to settle for the top 11, 11 and 16. A little more work, but it gives a bigger sample, so it's all good.

    2008
    Larry Fitzerald 12 6'3"
    Calvin Johnson 12 6'5"
    Anquan Boldin 11 6'1"
    Randy Moss 11 6'4"
    Tony Gonazales 10 6'5"
    Lance Moore 10 5'9"
    Terrell Ownens 10 6'3"
    Greg Jennings 9 5'11"
    Antonio Gates 8 6'4"
    Andre Johnson 8 6'3"
    Kevin Walter 8 6'3"

    2007
    Randy Moss 23 6'4"
    Braylong Edwards 16 6'3"
    Terrell Owens 15 6'3"
    Plaxico Burress 12 6'5"
    TJ Whosyourmomma 12 6'1"
    Greg Jennings 12 5'11"
    Dallas Clark 11 6'3"
    Marques Colston 11 6'4"
    Larry Fitzgerald 10 6'3"
    Reggie Wayne 10 6'0"
    Reggi Williams 10 6'4"

    2006
    Terrell Owens 13 6'3"
    Marvin harrison 12 6'0"
    Plaxico Burress 10 6'5"
    Tory Holt 10 6'0"
    Darrell Jackson 10 5'11
    Antonio Gates 9 6'4"
    Chris Henry 9 6'4"
    TJ Whosyourmomma 9 6'1"
    Reggie Wayne 9 6'0"
    Reggie Brown 8 6'1
    Marques Colston 8 6'4"
    Alge Crumpler 8 6'2"
    Donald Driver 8 6'0"
    Lee Evans 8 5'10"
    Steve Smith 8 5'9"
    Javon Walker 8 6'3"

    This should put to bed the argument that tries to dismiss height as a major factor in endzone production. If you're running game is good enough, maybe you can get by without having a good, tall reciever, but in the NFL, you better be able to put the rock into the endzone.

    Every system in the NFL is different, and these different systems likely place different values on different positions and roles. There may be some systems where the roll of small, agile recievers is more important than that of ones who score touchdowns, but I doubt that's the norm. Likely, each team likes a mix, and the smaller, agile guys tend to be cheaper.

    Points of interest.
    The winner of last years superbowl had no receiver in the top 11, yet the loser had 1 and 3.
    The 2007 SB winner and Loser both had one in the top 5.
    In 2006, the superbowl winnner had 2 in the top 7 and the loser had none till the number 19.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2009
  17. BradyFTW!

    BradyFTW! PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Wow- great research, very informative. I think that shows what you're saying pretty conclusively; tall guys have a vital role in the end zone that short guys are nowhere near taking over. Especially when you throw in the fact that the tall, slow guys are more unlikely to have long catch-and-sprint TDs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2009
  18. MoneyFX

    MoneyFX On the Game Day Roster

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    Wes Welker is the PERFECT example of a slot receiver. McNabb, Brady (possibly Manning) are the only QB's in the league that have a consistent deep threat and a durable slot receiver.
     
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