AFC East Preview: Breaking down and ranking the division's Wide Receivers
Hey everyone. From the looks of it, we've been spending a lot of time laughing at the expense of Buffalo, and well, we might just go over the top this week. In breaking down the divisions' Wide Receivers, we'll be putting down the Bills and their receivers. Most likely a lot. They have Lee Evans and a traveling band of carnival workers. Should be fun.Tight Ends will be coming very soon. These things get too long, I had to split them up. Anyways, stats are listed as follows (rec/yds/avg/TD).
Lee Evans (44/612/13.9/7)
James Hardy (1/9/9/0)
Question: See above
Answer: We don't know. Losing TO hurts any teams receiving corps. but this is ridiculous. Most of these guys don't have any stats whatsoever. Parrish is a punt returner; Chad Jackson busted as a 2nd rounder for New England and is trying to make a comeback with Buffalo. TRYING. This is a guy Belichik thought highly enough he used a 2nd rounder on and then dumped, and he has to work his way into Buffalo's rotation. That means he probably isn't very good. Granted, he's been away from football for a year, but the other side of granted is that this is Buffalo. Steve Johnson and James Hardy have each other to beat for that starting spot opposite Evans. Don't be surprised if neither gets it.
Most of these guys would've been cut by any other team at this point, and some of them will be cut by Buffalo sometime soon. The ones that manage to stay on though, aren't necessarily any good.
Division rank: 9
Yes. NINE. Five make-believe teams will have a better receiving corps than Buffalo within the AFC East next year.
Brandon Marshall (101/1120/11.1/10 with Denver)
Davone Bess (76/758/10/2)
Greg Camarillo (50/552/11/0)
Brian Hartline (31/506/16.3/3)
Yes. Like Buffalo, a lot of these guys are no-namers who won't make the team. But Turner (ugh...) turns heads and Hartline and Camarillo were great 3rd and 4th targets last year.
Oh, they also have an actual #1 receiver for the first time since, what? That one good OJ McDuffie year? (Say Chris Chambers. I dare you.) Marshall was amazing with a gunslinger (Cutler) 2 years ago, and just as effective with a "game manager" (Orton) last year. He may have himself a combo QB in Henne, and as long as he isn't partying it up with LeBron and Wade on South Beach, he might have his best season ever. Don't discount this though. I happen to think the worst thing for the Dolphins is LeBron coming to town, stealing their spotlight and throwing parties left and right for Marshall to either a) get in trouble b) party too much his play starts to deteriorate or c) both. Parcells should be able to keep him under control, but I'm keeping my eye on this for now.
Bess is speedy and seemed to be a matchup problem - or forgotten by DBs - for most of last season. With help that's more helpful than Ted Ginn, his numbers too, could go up.
1-4 a more than capable stable of receivers that has talent at the top and some depth. But then also all those other guys no one has heard of.
Division Rank: 2
Randy Moss (83/1264/15.2/13)
Wes Welker (123/1348/11/4)
Julian Edelman (37/359/9.7/1)
Torry Holt (51/722/14.2/0 with Jacksonville)
First off, guys named Tyree are bad for NE, so Barnes, you're cut.
Farnham, Jenkins and White are practice squad guys, and Aiken and Slater are Special Teamers.
But more first off, I'm leaving Welker as a starter, not so much because he seems to be well ahead of schedule with his rehab, but because he missed 2 games last year and still led the NFL in receptions. If he starts on the PUP and comes back after week 6, he'll still find a way to pull in 80 catches.
NE was 4th in the league in receptions last year with basically Welker, Moss and Faulk as their only receiving weapons. Edelman hit the ground running and will step in farily well for Welker until he returns, and Tate was kept on the shelf all season so he could rehab his knee and learn the playbook. Brady's been raving about him all offseason. Throw in Price, who's looking at playing time even though he missed the OTAs he's-that-good, and Holt - who, although he's lost more steps than most of us have ever had, is still Tory Holt - and you're looking at a deep corps with 2 of the top receivers in the league. A top 5 unit that will only get better when Welker returns and the young guys learn the system.
Any one of NE's top 5 would make Buffalo look better. Instead they have Chad Jackson and the Pats stay relevant. Also, Brandon Tate and Taylor Price sound like porn names, only not of the same gender.
Division Rank: 1
NEW YORK JETS:TEAM: (210/2596/12.4/12)
Santonio Holmes: (79/1248/15.8/5)
Braylon Edwards: (45/680/15.1/4)
Jerricho Cotchery (57/821/14.4/3)
David Clowney (14/191/13.6/1)
Brad Smith (7/63/9/0)
Danny Woodhead (8/87/10.9/0)
In some respects it's almost not fair to make fun of Buffalo when really ever team has some no-namers, but in other respects Buffalo seems to make it so easy sometimes.
Onward - why is Cotchery listed as a backup? You're asking the wrong guy. Ask me why the Jets traded a #2 receiver, a CB, special teamer and a draft pick for a #2 receiver. I don't know that either. The Jets traded for a Name - a theoretical marquee player, who makes them seem better on paper. Like if someone were to go after Ladainian Tomlinson at this point in his career. Or an overrated CB like Antonio Cromartie. Oh.
Look at Edwards' career numbers:
273 catches, 4328 yards (15.5 avg) and 32 touchdowns. Over a 5 year career, that comes out to about 55 catches, 865 yards and 6 TDs a season. Pretty decent numbers right? Except the Jets thought they were trading for a #1.
Here's Edwards before last season (or what the Jets thought they were getting)
228/3648 and 28 TDs. Over 4 years that's 57/912 and 7 TDs.
Still not exactly #1 numbers.
Now let's discount his freak 2007 season, and include last year:
193/3039 and 16 TDs over 4 years. That's 45 catches, 760 yards and 4 TDs per season. In other words, almost exactly what he did last year.
Even when you include his 07 season, no matter how you slice it, Edwards is an overpaid #2 receiver.
Good thing they brought in Holmes. You know, another guy who averages about 50+ catches a season and had a 1 season spike (most likely due to a poor running game).
Now it's possible this doesn't matter. The Jets completed the fewest passes of any team last year, but also ran the shit out of the ball. Literally, there was shit coming out of the ball at the end of each game, that's how much the Jets ran. Thomas Jones wasn't wearing elbow guards, those were baby wipes that he'd use to clean the shit from the ball after running so much. This is not a joke. The League sent Pigskin Pepto to East Rutherford to try and difuse the situation. So maybe they'll run the shit out of the ball again.
But why bring in 2 big name (and possibly overrated) receivers to begin with?
I'm not sure. Cotchery and Clowney are reliable reserves (although Cotchery probably should be starting, but whatever) and Brad Smith is more of a wildcat guy. So you've basically got 3 #2 receivers, a guy named Clowney, and a football that defecates.
Division Rank: 3
And just to be a prick, Chansi Stuckey over 2 seasons:
Yeah Edwards has better #s, but not by much. And Stuckey split time as a #2 with Clowney. And had to play with Favre as a rookie, and he's had basically 3 different systems in 2 years.
OK. Some Divisional notes:
Only 2 teams completed less than 250 passes, and Braylon Edwards played for both of them (CLE 219, NYJ 210)
Not only did the Jets somehow lead the division in avg yards per catch (12.4) but they were 7th in the NFL, while Miami (10.3) was 30th.
Buffalo did lead the league in at least one receiving category: longest play (98 yards). Ironically, the rest of the top 5 includes Atlanta, Denver, Oakland and Washington, none of which made the playoffs.
The Jets receivers (162.3) averaged 12 yards less than the Bills (174.3 last year, but somehow more than 21 yards more than - you guessed it - Cleveland (140.9). These three are at or near the bottom of most receiving statistical categories.
12 teams finished with less than 20 receiving TDs, including the Bills (17), Fins (15) and Jets (12).
Look, the Pats were good in the air, everyone else wasn't. That's really all you need to get out of this post and last weeks. Tight ends coming soon, and it'll probably be more of the same, except NE sucks there too. Expect a lot of "these guys are bad" or "these guys are unproven" talk. And maybe the Jets ball and I will have a shitting contest. Stay tuned.