Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

22 Sep 2005

Dr. Z: The 10 Best Receivers in Football

I'm not a big fan of these SI.com features where one of their writers writes a couple of hundred words but they space it out into 10 pages with photos. But I am a big fan of Dr. Z, so the link goes to his choice for the best receiver in the NFL, and you can click the arrows to see the rest.

Actually, I disagree very, very strongly with Dr. Z here, but I'm going to keep my reasons quiet for now and reveal them in a future edition of Every Play Counts. And that, my friends, is what is known as a tease.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 22 Sep 2005

121 comments, Last at 25 Sep 2005, 3:56am by DavidH

Comments

1
by zach (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:09pm

this reads a lot more like a "top 10 most likeable receivers" list. if it were, i would agree with him 100%.

2
by David Keller (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:13pm

Al-Hounah Bradlichi Sanchez is the best.

3
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:16pm

zach (#1 )--

Or Dr. Z could simply prefer consistant good performance to mercurial potential-game-breakers.

I might want Owens or Moss to catch one pass for the win against a good secondary, but I'd rather build a team around a solid performer like Harrison or Holt.

4
by princeton73 (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:18pm

I could be persuaded (COULD be) to agree with the 10 receivers that he listed, just not in the order he listed them

5
by JasonC23 (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:18pm

2001 Marvin Harrison? Sure.

2005 Marvin Harrison? Uh, no.

6
by pawnking (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:20pm

IMHO, any top receivers list which does not include Moss and Owens in the top three is not a valid one.

7
by ABW (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:20pm

This seems to be less "the best receiver in football right now" and more "the best receivers of the past 6 or so years, plus Chad Johnson". And what is Muhsin Muhammed doing on this list? If you were once the #1 guy on your team, and then another guy(let's call him Steve S....nah, how about S. Smith) comes along and takes over the #1 slot it seems unlikely that you are the second best receiver in football. I mean, don't get me wrong, Muhammed's had a good career and he had some great years, but one of these things is not like the others.

8
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:23pm

What does Michael Clayton have to do to get some good pub?

9
by Brandon (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:25pm

pawnking- i could not agree more.If your list does not include Terrell Owens & Randy Moss in the top 3 it is not valid. I dont understand how a popular writer for SI can make a list putting Randy Moss as the 7th best reciever in the league and it be printed. I want to say thats another sports writer not giving credit where credit is due because of off the field issues? Call me crazy...

10
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:26pm

And where, pray tell, is Joe Horn?

11
by Luz (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:27pm

#1

perhaps Z is influenced by "likable" guys.

or perhaps you are influenced by "most obsessed about by the media" guys.

not saying i don't agree with you but there is so much attention lavished on two particular cry babys and everything they (don't) do that they are automatically the first two recievers that come to mind.

12
by Brandon (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:28pm

carl- I feel what your saying there, Michael Clayton is a very solid reciever and i really enjoy watching him every weekend. Top 10 reciever? I'd disagree, Top 20? definitly.He makes the tough catches,gets the tough yards,and plays hard. He's a great player to watch.

13
by Brandon (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:31pm

Luz- I see where your coming from, but let me tell you because the media generally has TO and Randy Moss as the best isnt the main reason at all why I feel that way...I watch a lot of games every week and personally on the field, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens are the best recievers in football. Thats all I meant by what i said.
Sophandros- Great point there, Joe Horn is top 3 most underrated recievers in the league. He easily makes the top 10.

14
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:34pm

It looks like Carl and ABW have beaten me to it. Harrison's not even the best receiver in Indianapolis, never mind the league. This sounds more like his ranking of the order in which he would vote them into the Hall of Fame, if he had to pick 10 currently active receivers to go there. Except without Ike Bruce. Which strikes me as rather an odd exercise to say the least.

15
by Brandon (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:37pm

Just to give a little backup to Joe Horn, since he joined the Saints hes went over 1200 yards 4 out of 5 years and has 45 touchdowns in those 5 years.87 catches 1257 yards 9 touchdowns a year are alright averages since being a Saint I'd say...

16
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:38pm

Call me crazy, but I think a top receiver should play hard on every down, so that eliminates Randy Moss right off the bat. Also, I want my receiver to not short arm or drop passes at critical times during a season opener on Monday night against a tough conference opponent. So that knocks TO off the list. And Mohammed was the best receiver on the Panthers, I'd rather have him then Steven Smith.

17
by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:45pm

I've always wondered how Moulds would do on a better team, without Rob Johnson/Doug Flutie/Drew Bledsoe/JP Losman throwing to him, but I never would have called him #9 from his years in Buffalo.

18
by Ned (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:45pm

I think I have this right. By my count DPAR over the past three seasons would rank players:
1) Holt
2) Harrison
3) Ward
4) Horn
5) Moss
6) Mason
7) Owens

Receiver DPAR needs to be interpreted, so I'm not saying this is the definitive list, but I think it shows a list without Owens and Moss in the top 3 can be valid.

Muhammad, by the way, ranked 52nd in DVOA two years ago and 53rd the year before. Questionable quarterback play, but no way I would take him over Horn to say nothing of the younger set like Wayne, or when healthy Walker.

19
by Brandon (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:46pm

B- shouldnt you factor in numbers/production first and foremost in determing the best reciever in football? You base your ranking of the best reciever in football off one game....? hmm...i wouldnt agree with that one. I guess the only way to get Randy Moss what he deserves is saying hes the most dangerous, most game-changing reciever in the game. If that, with jerry rice like numbers and consistancy doesnt make him the best reciever in the league then alright...Also, i know you said randy moss doesnt play hard on every play, I hope you know TO does. I'm not getting caught up in the media hype about them either. I'm stating facts thats it.

20
by Brandon (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:49pm

I also hope people know I feel Torry Holt and Marvin Harrison are very close to TO and Randy Moss. On some levels are equal to them definitly. I'll give credit where credit is due, Holt and Harrison are great.

21
by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 2:56pm

"Also, i know you said randy moss doesnt play hard on every play, I hope you know TO does. I’m not getting caught up in the media hype about them either. I’m stating facts thats it. "

And by "facts" you mean "opinion."

Dr. Z specifically complained about TO shortarming a ball against Atlanta, aka not playing hard on every play. I didn't follow his last season in SF but I bet he took a few plays off there, too, given his relationship with the coaches and QB.

22
by Joe Namath (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:01pm

Moss may be able to jump the highest and run the fastest, but does that make him the best??
He also takes plays off, runs sketchy routes, often drops critical passes, doesn't give 100%, and doesn't block exceptionally well. He's the kind of player that makes Hines Ward's stock go up, and makes me really appreciate a Marvin Harrison or a Steve Smith.

23
by Aaron (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:05pm

I think Moss and Owens don't show up in the top three of the DPAR list, in part, because of various missed games. Holt and Harrison if I remember correctly have played 16 games a year for the last few years.

Eric Moulds on this list is about three years too late -- he's not even the best receiver on his own team -- and Muhsin Muhammad is definitely number two if you are doing "best wide receivers in a world where the universe was created on September 1, 2004 and destroyed on February 1, 2005."

24
by Ned (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:09pm

Correcting for per/game played and counting Moss for 5 games not played last year:
1)Holt
2)Harrison
3)Moss
4)Ward
5)Horn
6)Mason
7)Owens

Owens was pretty average in his last year in San Francisco.

25
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:10pm

"shouldnt you factor in numbers/production first and foremost in determing the best reciever in football?"
Yes, but we have to put the numbers in context. For example, say we have two receivers who got ~1350 yards and 8 TDs in a season. Both good numbers, and you'd say they were about equal, right? What if I told you one player was the intended receiver on 184 passes, and the other was the intended receiver on 134 passes, would you still consider them to be equal? Incidently, the two players were Amani Toomer and Randy Moss in 2002. I'm cherry picking stats here, but I just want to make a point that looking at the "raw" stats doesn't always give you the full picture. Evein Ned's list of top receivers by DPAR isn't the full picture, because a receiver with Manning for a QB will get better production than a receiver with, say Tommy Maddox (Or, if you prefer, Aaron Brooks), for a QB.

26
by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:11pm

Re: #23

So wait... first you said Lee Evans was better than Eric Moulds and then you said "the universe was created on September 1, 2004 and destroyed on February 1, 2005."

Aren't these incompatible? Is one good season as a #2 receiver enough to make Peerless Price, er, Lee Evans, better than Moulds?

27
by MdM (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:13pm

It seems really weird to me how so many people focus on off-field behavior as opposed to true production. I understand people can't idenfity with Moss' and Owens' antics, but can't they see how great McNabb is with Owens and how bad Culpepper is without Moss?

28
by pawnking (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:14pm

There are many ways to consider the question "Who's the best?" My point was that whether you think TO and Moss are "the best" I cannot imagine any serious arguement which would leave those two both (or either) out of the top three. You can put them in any order in the top three, but year in and year out, those two are just on a different level. I guess Aaron has a point about injuries, but I still cannot imagine such rankings. Maybe it's just me, though.

29
by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:19pm

#28:

So the games-played adjusted DPAR argument mentioned above that puts Moss at #3 and Owens at #7 isn't a serious argument?

30
by Brandon (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:19pm

zip- If you want to get that critical that alright...that Dr Z. sure can point out a specific instance when Terrell Owens didnt play hard.(kinda funny,seems like he likes to pick out the guy the media bashes) Are you telling me every reciever in the league today thats considered a top 10 or even top 50 reciever hasnt shortarmed a ball or not given 100% on every snap? id like to say no there isnt one. Sure Terrell Owens did that, and me stating he plays hard i feel is a fact because the majority of the time he plays hard, the VAST majority..so saying he plays as hard as anyone is a pretty accurate statement i think.I never said that TO playing hard on every snap was a fact, i said it in a general way, hes a reciever that definitly plays hard on the football field.

31
by Freddie Mitchell (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:20pm

I just want to thank my hands for being so great.

32
by SJM (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:23pm

I'm not really surprised that Doc Z put Moss and owens down on the list, but Muhammed? Moulds? I'd take them off and add Horn and, oh, I don't know, Keenan McCardell or Darrel Jackson.

33
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:28pm

"and how bad Culpepper is without Moss?"

Losing Birk, Dixon and Burleson (with no excuse for the Kiwi) has been worse for "Peppy" than Moss ending up in Black and Silver.

I don't have high hopes for the team with that line and a loss of any deep threat except, cough, cough, Koren "Meat Hands" Robinson.

Lucky for the Vikes they play in what might be the worst division in professional football.

I'm not sure USC wouldn't win it.

34
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:29pm

Brandon: Then how do you explain what happened during TO's last year in San Francisco?

35
by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:30pm

#30

me stating he plays hard i feel is a fact

That's not what a fact is. A fact would be something like "Owens has a 43.5% PHPAR (playing hard points above replacement) for the last 3 years, placing him 3rd in the league in that time. This fact refutes allegations that he does not play hard."

36
by Brandon (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:30pm

zip- #26 very good point, i completely agree.
mdm- i wouldnt say culpepper is that bad without Randy Moss just yet. Did you see the 5 games of the football season last year when Randy Moss wasn't on the field? Wait, let me correct that, 2 of those 5 he was on the field as an injured decoy. Daunte Culpepper's stats in those 5 games? 70% Completion percentage 1179 yards 9 Tds 3 INTs..pretty good. I wouldnt give up on Daunte so quick this year...I think what hurts the most is Scott Linehan,Matt Birk, and David Dixon being gone..which also equals shit for a running game.I just dont know how BAD Culpepper is without Moss just yet thats all.

37
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:34pm

On another note, I'd like to make an argument for Hines Ward's outstanding blocking. That has to be worth something that just isn't well factored into receiving data.

And his timorous pursuit of yardage in the middle of the field.

I might be a little biased because I admire him personally, but he's top 3 for me. Clayton is in there for me, too. Anyone who can catch like that for the Bucs has to be near the top, sophomore or not.

38
by Brandon (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:34pm

B- i think his last year in San Fransisco was off-the-field antics his on the field game was alright..but anyways zip- ok..to make you happy ill restate it and say I feel very strongly that TO, the vast majority of his career has played as hard as any other reciever.

39
by Xao (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:35pm

Dr. Z was a former offensive lineman. I'd guess his rating scheme is based at least partially on a receiver's performance when he doesn't have the ball. When was the last time you saw Randy Moss absolutely stone a linebacker?

40
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:36pm

I also would say that the luckiest QB in the world is Kerry "Sailing Away" Collins. To have Porter AND Moss there is quite a luxury, and an o-line that's really starting (so far) to develop, and Lamont Jordan on hand for pass-fakes.

They're making him look better than he really is. I don't care what DVOA says.

41
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:40pm

TO in 2003:
Passes Yards TD Catch %
145....1102...9...55%
I guess that could be considered ok. I don't think it's top 2 or even top 10, though.

42
by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:42pm

#38

Sorry for being a dick about your choice of words, I tend to overreact to usage of phrases of the form "[unsupported opinion] is fact"

43
by Brandon (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:46pm

carl- Oh i couldnt agree more on that.Hines Ward is the best blocking reciever in the game.Being a die-hard Bronco fan ill openly admit hes a better blocker than Rod Smith, but Rod is in the top 3 in that category. Just a cool stat about him, he has more catches then any UDFA in NFL history.I love having a tough, hard-working, sure-handed guy like that.Hines Ward reminds me of a younger Rod Smith, ya he might even be better then he WAS, but you got to give Rod Smith is credit.

44
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 3:59pm

Didn't Owens actually lead the league in drops in 2002?

45
by Ray (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:04pm

RE:#26 Zip

I think you misunderstood what Aaron was saying. First, addressing Moulds, he said that Lee is a better reciever. Then, addressing Muhammad he made the statement about the world between Sept 1, 2004 and Feb 1, 2005. Basically Muhammad could be the #2 reciever last year, but outside of that there's no place for him in the top 10.

Ward is in a good place on the list. He does just about everything very well.

46
by dead meadow (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:05pm

Harrison is a very very good receiver, but there's a reason his stats weren't particularly great until Peyton Manning's second year. He plays very well in that offense but doesn't change the way defenses approach playing the Colts. In another time on another team, he's a quality player but never puts up similar stats.

It's Moss and Owens, hard as it is for people to swallow given their personalities. I would also take Holt over Harrison - I actually think his fantastic statistical achievements over the last five seasons leave him underrated, even though he's very well known.

47
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:12pm

Killing Owens because of "ok" stats (is 1100+ yards and 9 TDs can be considers "ok") his last year in San Fran is just asinine. That team just wasn't that good (they finished 7-9; 3 games out of the playoffs), and Owens was the only guy on that offense that had any kind of skill (he basically made Jeff Garcia's career). Last year he had 14 TDs and 1200 yards in only 13 1/2 games.

This list isn't "Top 10 WRs You'd Want on Your Team". If that were the case you'd have to factor in all the off-the-field bs. But that's not what we're talking about. If you can look at all the wide-recievers in the league and honestly say that Moss and Owens aren't two of the most talented guys playing the position, you should find another sport to watch because it's obvious you don't know what you're looking at.

I could see making a "Top 10 WR List" and not having Moss and Owens #1 and #2, but if you have either of them out of the top 4 (the other two being Harrison and Holt), your opinion becomes null and void (ranking Muhsin freaking Muhammad #2 is another sure way to prove your ignorance). There is no rational arguement that can be made to drop either of them from the top 4.

48
by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:14pm

Personally, wiping away what all WRs have achieved prior to 2004, which I think is necessary if you're talking about the CURRENT best receivers, I think that Torry Holt and Chad Johnson are the best in the game.

49
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:14pm

Harrison clearly benefited from having Peyton as his QB, but Holt also was fortunate to have Bruce lining up opposite him and Warner/Bulger under center. I think this year we're going to see just how much benefit Moss had from Culpepper. It's hard to make great catches when your QB is whizzing the ball 5 feet over your head. And if you account for the games missed due to injury, TO looks much better with McNabb than he did with Garcia.

50
by Hook (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:15pm

To have Porter AND Moss there is quite a luxury, and an o-line that’s really starting (so far) to develop, and Lamont Jordan on hand for pass-fakes.

Porter seems a bit overrated. He has a lot of potential, but career wise he has nearly identical stats to Todd Pinkston.

51
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:16pm

zip:

Short-arming a ball <> not playing hard. It means that you looked up at the defense and prepared to receive a shot.

52
by elhondo (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:22pm

Owens is only getting better according to my source (click name).

53
by Ray (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:33pm

Great article, Elhondo. ;^)

54
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:34pm

I could make plenty of rational arguments as to why Moss and TO arn't the top 2 receivers, but it won't change anybody's opinions. Perhaps a better way would be to first define what criteria we use to pick the best receivers.
First would be thier production. DPAR is a good place to start. We need to acknowledge, however, that DPAR will give unfair credit to WRs who play on pass-first teams and who have quality QBs. We can account for some of this by normalizing for the number of passes thrown to the WR. We'd need to weight the WR's teammates, too, because a good RB will keep the safties from playing deep and good other receivers will limit the number of double-teams.
Once we account for production, we should look at other things the WR does. Is he good at downfield blocking? Does he play on special teams? Is he a defensive back? (Ok, that one is pretty rare) But any of these things are additional value that WR brings to his team. Is he often injured of does he have a history of getting suspended/missing games? Having the best WR in the world doesn't do you much good if he's sitting out because of "off the field" problems. This is a short list of the things I look at when rating WRs.

55
by Aaron (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:41pm

Re: 26, 45 -- Righty-o. My comment about Muhammad would also be a good defense of Moulds, if 2004 was his first subpar year. But Moulds has not had a good DPAR since 2000 -- even when the Buffalo offense had that huge year in 2002. He's never had a year where he caught an above-average percentage of passes thrown to him.

Who would I add to the list instead of Moulds and Muhammad? Definitely Reggie Wayne instead of Moulds. Muhammad actually isn't that bad if he's #10 instead of #2. Otherwise, you can go three directions:

1) Old and steady: Kennison and Bruce have very good DPAR each of the past three years.
2) Young and rising: Javon Walker, Michael Clayton, or Deion Branch.
3) Screwed by fate: Chris Chambers.

Think about the numbers Chris Chambers would have if Miami had an actual quarterback playing behind an actual offensive line. Now imagine him with both those things and someone like Reggie Wayne or Plaxico Burress on the other side to help draw the defense's attention. Wowza.

56
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:50pm

"He plays very well in that offense but doesn’t change the way defenses approach playing the Colts. In another time on another team, he’s a quality player but never puts up similar stats."

But since Harrison is going to spend his entire career with one team, that's kind of meaningless, isn't it?

He's the perfect receiver for the Colts. He's helped to make them the top offensive team in football.

HOF.

57
by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:51pm

#55)
Fair enough. I mainly wanted to point out that the last guy to have a really good year playing opposite Moulds was Peerless Price. Take from that what you will.

58
by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:54pm

I think it's very interesting that the two most successful clubs over the last two years, measured by wins and losses, are the Patriots and the Eagles. Yet, with the exception of TO (who was only on the Eagles for one of those two years), not a single other WR from either of these clubs is being discussed.

I'm not whining that these recievers are underrated. I think all the names people are throwing around are very fair, for the most part. I just think it's interesting. Apparently it is quite possible to build a winning team without one of the top WR's in the game. Probably it has something to do with, when a WR is elite, he commands a price that is disproportionately high relative to what he brings to the team, and so with the salary cap it's a better value to have a stable of decent to good recievers and spend the money on the O-line or somewhere where you get more value for your dollar (Detroit, Houston, you may want to make a note of this).

Regarding the criticism of WR's taking plays off. I don't think it's that bad. Here are guys who's job consists of sprinting 25+ yards every 40 seconds over an entire game, and sometimes getting leveled by men twice their size running at full tilt. Obviously, they HAVE to take a break from time to time. So why don't they just come out of the game for a few plays? Well, they often do, but sometimes they just can't (e.g. the offense is running a hurry up). Besides, even if they take a play off while on the field, their presence still has value. By jogggin a 5 yard out pattern, even if they don't block or seriously try to get open, a defender still has to cover them. If they are dangerous enough, their mere presence has value. If Randy Moss is in the game, the other team is probably going to be keeping a safety deep and another defender tasked on covering him close, regardless of what he does on the play.

59
by Richie (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:54pm

Which website is more unusable - si.com or espn.com?

60
by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 4:55pm

And for the record, I definitely think Joe Horn deserves to make the list. Eric Moulds raised an eyebrow, as did Muhammed, but I suppose you could make arguments.

61
by dead meadow (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 5:20pm

"But since Harrison is going to spend his entire career with one team, that’s kind of meaningless, isn’t it?"

First part is your assumption. And ummm no, it isn't meaningless at all. Attempting to normalize the situations, context and advantages or lack thereof that players have in their careers, in order to accurately assess how much weight to give their achievements, is the crux of any form of relative comparison between players. You do it yourself in post 40, by the way.

"Harrison clearly benefited from having Peyton as his QB, but Holt also was fortunate to have Bruce lining up opposite him and Warner/Bulger under center."

IMO Bulger was very, very fortunate to have Holt circa. 2002/3, not the other way round. The fact Holt put up the numbers he did during that mess of a changeover and with a very young QB speaks volumes about his talents.

62
by Carl (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 5:29pm

I compared a known fact to a known fact. Moss and Porter play for the Raiders. So, now, does Collins. We can compare histories.

We can't do that with conjecture about how Harrison might, or might not, perform on another team. He's not on another team. The last team he was on was Syracuse, unless you count the AFC squad in most Pro Bowls.

63
by Purds (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 5:46pm

Re: dead meadow

One can surely say that Harrison is not a good blocker (though he tries, he's just too small), and one might argue that age is getting to him, but to say that he'd have been mediocre in any other system is foolish.

Harrison caught 143 passes in 2002, 20 more than the next highest EVER in a single season. Yes, Manning threw him the ball alot (200+ times), but he caught 70% of the passes. Shouldn't any defenses have tried to stop him?

And, while he's not putting up 140 a year any more, he was pretty good last year:

Harrison: 86 for 1113 for 15 TDs
Owens: 77 for 1200 for 14 TDs
Moss: 49 for 767 for 13 TDs

Yeah, you might complain that the others missed time, but doesn't durability count?

Or, we can use numbers for the past 6 seasons:

Player / 1K yards / 10Ts / 100 catches
Harrison / 6 / 6 / 4
Owens / 5 / 4/ 1
Moss / 5 / 5 / 2

64
by dead meadow (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 5:56pm

Good for you. So a very broad conjecture on how a player might perform in a hypothetical situation, in order to help assess to what extent his surroundings have determined his performance, is meaningless. I'll keep your views on that in mind when reading your future posts.

65
by Ned (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 6:00pm

I'll join Carl in saying a good word for Hines Ward. We'll see what sort of 2nd option Plaxico Burress was and how his departure impacts Ward, but Ward has played in a run first offense (except 2003) and with a bunch of very average quarterbacks. Harrison has played with Manning, Owens with Garcia (several time Pro Bowler), next to Rice, and now with McNabb. Moss broke in across from Carter and then had Culpepper. Holt had Bruce and Warner/Bulger (although I agree with dead meadow, particularly in regards to 2003). Add in Ward's blocking, and one could make a case that he is the best wr in football.

For full discloure, I think the best wr in football was Harrison from 2000-2002 at which point Holt passed him. I think, however, that Moss may have been second to both of them. I know this is talking about this year, but in terms of career, always remember that Harrison had nobody on the other side of the field in his prime and he still put up ridiculous numbers.

66
by dead meadow (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 6:02pm

Purds: I never said he would be mediocre. I said he would be a quality player. He's a sure-fire HOFer, no doubt. Ultimately you do rate a player on what he accomplished in his career instead of hypotheticals. But, you try to place those accomplishments in perspective.

67
by skane (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 6:09pm

DPAR(while a great stat), and conventional stats(rec,yards,TDs) can't be the only determining factor for who's the best receiver, though they are very important. For example, how many times a person is thrown to factors into DPAR. But that doesn't tell the degree of difficulty of the pass or whether the QB was hurried or hit while throwing the ball. In the Monday night game for example, McNabb attempted several downfield passes to T.O., which are far harder passes to complete that a slant or hitch. He was also hit or hurried on those passes, including the first INT and the final play of the game. Also, Moss and T.O. have big impacts on the other teams defensive strategies. Hines Ward, Mason, Horn, and to a lesser extent, Harrison and Holt, don't have as much impact or importance to the other team as either T.O. or Moss because there isn't a safety always lurking in deep coverage or a linebacker buzzing a slant route. In all honesty, 4 or five guys on Zimmerman's list don't have a quarter of the importance to the other team as T.O. or Moss. Those two guys are in a class of their own, and it's not even close.

68
by Dave (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 6:15pm

One of the problem with DPAR with WR's which has been brought up before, is that second and third Wr's no doubt benefit from getting single coverage. Whereas, a star WR is getting double/triple covered most of the time and thus making it more difficult to get a high DVOA/DPAR rating.

Catch% can be misleading as well as the QB will often try and force it into the best WR even if he is not completely open. Even DPAR has to be taken in context with the team. Owens may have a lot of drops but he also turns a lot of passes into TD's that otherwise wouldn't be with his tackle breaking ability.

Is owens/moss price to performance ratio sensible for a team. Hard to say. Are they the 2 best RECEIVING WR's in football? If not they are at least in the top 5.

69
by bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 6:19pm

RE: Marvin Harrison
I'd humbly submit that Harrison could probably have had another 140 catch season, but nobody on the Colts wants that because that was their only non-playoff year in the past 5 or 6; he was the only option.
Chomping into his production in 2004 were two other guys you may have heard of, both of whom had over 1,000 yards and 10 TDs. If they were not there, and Manning had not matured and James been injured again, it would have been Marvin for another 120 catches and maybe five more TDs. But the Colts might have gone 9-7 or so because of the one-dimensionality of the O. I'll take his diminished production any day if it's coupled with performance from the others like 2004. Who wouldn't? (okay, who aside from the mee-first! crowd of hotdogs)
He's a good guy (everyone seems to agree) and if not the MOST talented in every aspect, perhaps he puts it all together better than anybody else. And work ethic counts for something here--since both he and Manning credit all the extra hours for their communication skills on the field. Finally, most attribute his lethality to his route-running (yawn) a decidedly un-sexy aspect of the trade. And one that is not measurable. His speed is consistent, and his moves consistent from route to route so the DBs can't anticipate what pattern he'll run--it gives him just a split second extra on the DB and that gives him a couple extra feet separation to make up for the speed and height (both measurable) he may not have.
Finally, even though he's 185lbs soaking wet, we've seen a few UGLY hits in the past couple years where he kept the ball in his hands, thanks to the monster-hit type highlight reels at ESPN. I wouldn't put him at lead blocker for a goal line TD, but he's tough enough for me.

70
by Jake (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 6:34pm

INteresting.

I would say Ward is my favorite WR. He plays hard every game. Catches pretty much everything that could be caught. Blocks. Not to mention the running philosophy of the Steelers.

However, the implications Moss and Owens have on defenses is far more than what Ward or anyone else brings to the table.

The Raiders could run Moss deep every play. If he is in single coverage, throw him the ball. If he is in double or triple coverage, downfield, the rest of the field would be more open for other Raiders (Jordan, Porter) to make plays.

Moss and Owens have that X factor that goes beyond the stats, like Vick. (Maybe just the three of them.) This X factor impacts not only plays they are directly involved in, but all plays. It changes defensive schemes.

As much as I enjoy watching Ward, Moss and Owens have to be considered more valuable as a player.

71
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 6:37pm

There's on glaring ommission from these lists of top wide receivers: Pepsi Machine! He never missed a pass, and it's a sure touchdown every time.

72
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 6:40pm

I see that the good doctor has accomplished the first of his two goals:
To get people talking and fill up his mailbag so that he has material.

It's one of the oldest tricks, guys. Stir up a fake controversy and get the inbox full. You know, like starting a Manning/that other guy debate...

73
by bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 6:55pm

Ned,
RE: #65
For shame! Do you not remember the de-cleating block Harrison threw in the Denver playoff game last year. I do not recall the victim, and he may not recall his name either, right now. Harrison is small, but I've seen some decent blocking from him already this year.
That far downfield, and at the speed things are going once you're 5+ yards past the LOS, all you need to do often enough is slow the safety up a step or two to spring your guy, not road-grade him. A safety is backpedaling, or switching his hips to change pursuit angle, and all it takes is a good push or even basketball-like pick to move him a couple yards out of position. If timed well.
He's no Hines Ward, though, that's fer sure. Maybe, like the Steelers' stadium being named (sort of) after Hines, the new Indy stadium will be Marvin Field. (Get Marvin Windows as a sponsor.)

74
by zach (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 6:55pm

i don't know about moss, but owens also blocks on every run play, often making critical blocks. this might be easier for him to do than other WRs, since he's been in west coast offenses his entire career and thus doesn't have to do it so often, and you know, since he's big, but it's worth mentioning.

75
by MDS (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 6:56pm

"Yeah, you might complain that the others missed time, but doesn’t durability count?"

Thank you, Purds. I really hate it when people act like it's somehow against the rules to consider injuries when evaluating a player. Some guys play every game; others miss a lot. That's as relevant as any stat when assessing a player's production.

76
by Tim (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 7:08pm

Just wanted to drop my 2 cent in. I believe that you MUST take into account blocking and effort. These I believe counts Owens and Moss out. If you are just talking about speed, leaping, and catching they are tops.

On the topic of short arming. I think my best memory of a WR short arming a catch was of Owens. I believe it was 2001 when the 49ers were playing the Bears in Chicago. It was OT and Owens ran a quick slant over the middle and looked up and saw Brain Urlacher. Owens short armed the ball and the ball went up for graps which Mike Brown came down with it and returned it for the game ending TD. Was one of two games in a row which Brown return a pick in OT.

77
by zach (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 7:17pm

if we're going to include effort in the evaluation then we may as well include general personality (which of course would rule owens and moss both out of the list). effort should only be taken into consideration if it actually makes the difference between two guys. if one is 200% better than the next while only giving a 50% effort, it might not be fair, but he's still the more dangerous player.

78
by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 7:42pm

#77

I don't think anyone was saying "X and Y are both good but X tries harder, so he's better."

I would say that the guy who tries harder is going to be more consistent (by not taking plays off) and block better (by giving a damn). The argument is that "not taking plays off" helps your team out in ways that aren't measured and thus guys with lower rankings by conventional methods who put more effort in (cough, Hines Ward, cough) are actually more valuable to their teams and thus "better."

79
by Brandon (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 8:10pm

let me first say and by my past posts you will know, i consider hines ward the 6th best reciever in the game(i think highly of him) including pretty much everything..just a few stats that are very significant-
Randy Moss's Career Averages through 2004
82 catches 1306 yards 13 TD's 16.2 YPC

Hines Ward's Career Averages through 2004
72 catches 865 yards 6 TD's 12.7 YPC

now with that in mind...moss is on a completely different level as far as stats go..ward is on another level with blocking/overall effort..and that matters...only so much.SO i mean ya hes great to watch,great for the league,and consistant, but Randy Moss changes schemes,changes games, and wins games on his own.

80
by Brandon (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 8:15pm

as far as the best recievers i think accumulating everything most of us can agree that Randy Moss,Terrell Owens,Marvin Harrison,Torry Holt in any order are the top recievers in the NFL bar none.Then at a close 5,6,7 etc. is Chad Johnson,Hines Warn,Joe Horn,etc.

I say we change the topic and go off on other positions? anybody interested in the defensive side of the balls positions...such as OLB,DE,DT??? i can argue those all day as well as offense..defense is just more fun lol

81
by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 8:21pm

Didn't FO do an "Every Play Counts" on Randy Moss a while back? What was the verdict then?

82
by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 8:27pm

#80: Who is the NFL's best at holding the ball for the kicker?

83
by Brandon (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 9:30pm

#80 *Ward

84
by DavidH (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 10:35pm

#81:

If only there were a big green button on the front page linked to an archive of all the Every PLay Counts articles... seriously though, the Moss article is linked in my name. I'll sum up the results:

-Moss doesn't "take off plays" like he used to in 2000.
-He did block lazily and ineffectively on several runs (not all).
-Several times after a lazy block, his man ended up tackling the running back downfield.
-The Viking almost exclusively run the ball to the opposite side of the field from Moss.
-His lazy blocking allowed his man to leave him alone to play Moore on an apparent run play, which then turned into a flea flicker to a now wide open Moss.

MDS theorizes that even if Moss were a good blocker, they would still run the ball away from Moss because the extra coverage teams put on Moss means that the other side of the field is less protected. This obviously doesn't excuse his blocking. It seems that his bad blocks demonstrably affected the running game in a negative fashion, but mostly with the result of shortening some runs that had already broken through to the secondary. At least this generally means that his bad blocks are not leading to runs getting stuffed.

85
by Nathan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2005 - 11:07pm

Harrison didn't catch as many balls because the Colts had enough wideouts to allow that sort of thing.

I am a colts mark.

86
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 12:19am

Moss in Every Play Counts:
http://www.footballoutsiders.com/ramblings.php?p=1790&cat=1
Quick synopsis: He doesn’t block or put in much effort on running plays.

87
by Jesus (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 9:16am

I guess that brilliant coaching by Parcells launches Sanatana Moss a little higher up in the rankings!

Burn me once,
shame on you.
Burn me twice,
and I'm an over rated idiot . . .

88
by Matt (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 9:52am

While I wouldn't put Muhammed 3rd, the same defense used for Ward can be used for him. He regularly flattens linebackers in the running game and even prides himself on picking up and blocking the blitz. Also, he has put up good numbers every year he's had a decent quarterback throw him the ball and an O-line that didn't disappear on passing downs. Judging by Dr. Z's list, I think it fairly obvious he considers blocking for the running game and picking up the blitz of sufficient importance to drop Moss and Owens. Give me Moss or Owens on 3rd and long, Muhammed or Ward on 3rd and short.

89
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 12:27pm

RE: 59

Very tough call. Each have their own reasons for why they suck. I'll go with espn.com by a nose, because at least si.com doesn't have spyware. But they load up pages with ads so that a Peter King article requires you to load about 7 pages. Imagine trying to read MMQB if you had dialup.

90
by Tim (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 1:16pm

Just another quick 2 cent. Have we considered the offenses that the players play for. Moss, Harrison, Holt, Owens all play for high pass offenses. Ward plays for a run first offense. This will make the numbers to be skewwed towards the others.

91
by Tim (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 1:16pm

Just another quick 2 cent. Have we considered the offenses that the players play for. Moss, Harrison, Holt, Owens all play for high pass offenses. Ward plays for a run first offense. This will make the numbers to be skewwed towards the others.

92
by Dave (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 1:17pm

This list is a joke. Muhsin Muhammed is the 2nd best WR in the NFL? Harrison circa 05 is the best?

Someone's been taking stupid pills again.

And whoever said this list is viable if you prefer "consistent performers" is smoking crack. TO and Randy, despite all the negative media, consistently kick ass. That's why they're always the top WRs taken in fantasy drafts.

93
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:20pm

Dave is right. I traced the Y-axis marked "Kick" and it intersects at the X-Axis of "Ass" precisely at 81, the jersey number of Terrell Owens.

What's 81 backwards? Yes. 18. The jersey number of Randy Moss.

Coincidence? I think not.

94
by zach (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 2:24pm

clearly, randy moss Ass Kicks.

95
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 3:34pm

"Who is the NFL’s best at holding the ball for the kicker?"

Micah Knorr.

Justin Snow used to do a really good job for the Colts, and won a game for them in 2002 by explaining to coach that the kicker would make the field goal.

I would vote for Snow in the AFC.

Joe Scarpati was the best of all time, and he's in the record book to prove it (albeit as an assistant).

96
by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 3:36pm

Come to think of it, Jason Garrett was really good for the Giants, but I think he's out of the league now.

Knorr. I'll stick with Knorr. I don't know if he's still holding, but Knorr!

97
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 3:44pm

"Actually, I disagree very, very strongly with Dr. Z here, but I’m going to keep my reasons quiet for now and reveal them in a future edition of Every Play Counts."

And that, my friends, is the tipoff that FO is nearly mainstream media - when an objective fact-based column becomes airtime for the author's pre-conceived agenda, nevermind the evidence in the event itself!

I kid, I kid. But what will you do if the game you pick has the receiver in question (Harrison? Or someone else on the list?) go crazy Flipper Anderson style? What if the subject is whoever you think should be #1, and he throws up a near-perfect loser league day (2 catches, -12 yards, 2 fumbles)? Will the article match the evidence, or will it be agenda-driven and remain in its pre-written form? Stay tuned...

98
by Jason in Indy (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 3:46pm

#65:
I was going to say this but #73 beat me to it. Obviously you've never watched a Cotls game - especially the playoff game agaisnt Denver last year. Harrison absolutely ROCKED Champ Bailey on a monster block near the goal line to free up Reggie Wayne for a touchdown.

To say Harrison can't block just shows your ignorance about Harrison and the Colts in general. He may be small but he puts it all on the line and performs nicely when he needs to block downfield.

On topic, I can't put Owens or Moss #1 & #2 because of their attitudes alone. Both seem to take plays off, both have attitudes that can destruct a team, both put more effort into their post TD celebrations than they do into running routes and doing the little things. Give me a Harrison or Holt who do all the little things right - blocking, precise route running, hands like velcro - than a loudmouth more concerned with his personal stats (like Owns, Moss and the up and coming ego of Chad Johnson)

But maybe I'm just a "hater"

99
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 3:49pm

Interesting that Knorr would be so good at it. I've always heard the theory that you should use a quarterback, who's used to handling the ball a lot and can make something happen if the play breaks down. Of course, the loudest proponent of that theory is Theismann, so take that for what it's worth. But my knowledge of long snappers and holders is rather insufficient, I'm sad to say.

100
by MJK (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 3:56pm

OK, so here's a question. What do people thing would be the best PAIR of WR's to put on the field together. Randy Moss-TO is the obvious answer, but there may be others. Are there two elite recievers out there that we've been talking about whose skills complement nicely and who would, paired up, give D-Coordinators nightmares?

101
by zach (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 5:01pm

re 100: see The Colts (although that's three, i guess).

i don't think moss and owens could ever co-exist on the same team for personality reasons. but even talking strictly on-the-field production, i don't think that a QB would do as well with two #1 receivers. having a clear leader of the WR corps means easier decision-making. anyone who wants to, feel free to refute this historically.

102
by DavidH (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 5:05pm

Samie Parker and Eddie Kennison.

I keed, I keed.

103
by MDS (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 5:23pm

Trogdor, that's a very valid question. When the facts available to me change, I change my opinion, so it's entirely possible that I'll set out to write this EPC I'm thinking of and then find that on close examination either I'm wrong or the player is having an atypical game.

But the receiver I'm thinking about has been consistent when I've watched him, and there's one specific trait of his that has remained the same every time I've seen him, and he has possessed this trait throughout his NFL career and even in college. So I'm not too worried that he'll change when I sit down to watch him on every play.

But I do try to go into these things with an open mind. I certainly wasn't expecting to be as favorable about Urlacher as I was.

104
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 6:00pm

Re:82
I think that would have to be Koy Detmer. The only reason he's still Philly's 2nd string QB is because David Akers doesn't want anyone else holding for him.

Back on topic, I'm absolutely dumbfounded as to why people get the impression that Owens takes plays off and doesn't block. Because you can remember one or two plays where he short-armed a ball?!? I guarantee that the only reason those plays stick out in your memory is because you already didn't like Owens and you remember the plays that support your opinion. Both of those things couldn't be further from the truth.

105
by james (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 6:14pm

Here is a good test for wide receivers

Test A.

Guys that make any qb look good? This is the rice category

Moss, T.O

Test B.
Guys who are good with a good qb?This is the Irvin category
Muhammed, Holt, Harrison, Bruce, Moulds...hell I can go on and on

Test C.
Guys who are average or worse no matter the qb?

The points is there are 3 levels of receivers.

T.o and Moss are level 1

Everyone else is two or three

106
by james (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 6:19pm

I forgot Chad Johnson..this guy is definitely on level A

107
by ElJefe (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 6:47pm

Gotta agree with #104.

Dr. Z (like many journalists) is on record as personally despising TO. I kind of suspect he had the copy "TO short-arms ball/takes plays off" written in Feb 2004 and was just waiting to use it. A bit instructive that it's now over a season later before he did. Of course, this copy only makes sense in the context of an Eagles loss, and TO's only been a part of 2 before the Atlanta game. You'd look pretty silly bringin' the TO hate after the Super Bowl and he/they likely used the other ready-made "TO making an ass of himself on the sideline" copy for the Pittsburgh loss last year.

I'm pretty sure if anyone really wanted to watch, every receiver (highly-regarded or otherwise) has had plays where he chose not to run full-speed into a 250-lb man. Depending on your perspective on the receiver, you either chalk that up to him being a coward, or you rationalize "The QB shouldn't be leading that great man into coverage like that!".

And if TO (or anyone else) does intentionally shy away from a violent collision pre-catch, how is that different from a receiver catching the ball and immediately heading for the sidelines so as not to get hit? Or catching one over the middle and finding a nice, soft piece of turf to lay on before a nasty LB tackles him. (Quite a few of the receivers discussed in this thread bring the Turtle real strong.) Sure, "short-arming" the ball costs your team yardage, but so does this other stuff.

And if the receiver happens to be playing against your favorite team, you yell the same thing at the TV. Something about the receiver resembling a cat. :)

{And I don't blame the WRs for not wanting to get hit. TDs are fun. Concussions and contusions are not.}

108
by Brandon (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 8:22pm

#100- Randy Moss & Hines Ward
best playmaker,game-changer in the game with the best do-it-all reciever.Scary.

109
by Jason (not verified) :: Fri, 09/23/2005 - 8:26pm

Marvin Harrison and Torry Holt fall down after they make a catch so does issac bruce, do you see Moss and T.0. falling down after a catch i think not. I don't care how well hines wards blocks it doesn't matter, WR=catch TD's bottom line ill take moss at 50% over any receiver any day of the week.

110
by Purds (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 12:39am

Jason:

A player needs to be smart, and Harrison has missed just 5 games total in his 10-year career.

Which do you think frustrates a DB more, standing up at 6-0 175 lbs after making the catch, taking a shot, and getting knocked out of the game; or going down, getting up, and catching another pass on the same DB on the next play? Besides, Harrison goes over the middle all the time, most recently the shot he took at Baltimore. Popped up and stayed.

Heck, against Denver in the playoffs, Harrison went down, got up, and scored...(Okay, that was a shot at the Denver D, not a plus for Harrison )

111
by Purds (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 12:47am

Oh, and Jason, you better check the numbers again if TD's alone is your reason to name Moss:

2004 TDs: Harrison 15, Owens 14, Moss 13

I guess if you count those old years, Moss looks better...

2003-4 TDs: Moss 32, Harrison 25, Owens 23

2002-4 TDs: Moss 37, Harrison 36, Owens 36

2001-4 TDs: Owens 52, Harrison 51, Moss 47

By no means a Moss slam dunk.

112
by Purds (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 12:49am

Oop, I overcounted Moss in 2003-4. Should read:

2003-4 TDs: Moss 30, Harrison 25, Owens 23

Even less convincing

113
by Moses (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 10:38am

Wanker 79 (Post 47)"Killing Owens because of “ok� stats (is 1100+ yards and 9 TDs can be considers “ok") his last year in San Fran is just asinine. That team just wasn’t that good (they finished 7-9; 3 games out of the playoffs), and Owens was the only guy on that offense that had any kind of skill (he basically made Jeff Garcia’s career). Last year he had 14 TDs and 1200 yards in only 13 1/2 games."

I know some 49er personnel people; some of them are still burned up at Owens who became "Mr. Disappearing Me" during 2003. Owens, by his refusal to put out top effort on every play, earned those stats. Don't excuse it. He totally played to avoid injury, his run blocking dropped dramatically, he became uncoachable and is suspected (and called out by D. Smith) of malingering.

In short, he was everything everyone criticizes Moss for, but without putting up the upside when Moss is motivated.

114
by KnickerBlogger (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 11:52am

re: 58

Regarding the criticism of WR’s taking plays off. I don’t think it’s that bad. Here are guys who’s job consists of sprinting 25+ yards every 40 seconds over an entire game, and sometimes getting leveled by men twice their size running at full tilt. Obviously, they HAVE to take a break from time to time. So why don’t they just come out of the game for a few plays? Well, they often do, but sometimes they just can’t (e.g. the offense is running a hurry up). Besides, even if they take a play off while on the field, their presence still has value. By jogggin a 5 yard out pattern, even if they don’t block or seriously try to get open, a defender still has to cover them. If they are dangerous enough, their mere presence has value. If Randy Moss is in the game, the other team is probably going to be keeping a safety deep and another defender tasked on covering him close, regardless of what he does on the play.

I don't have it on me, but didn't the last propsectus say that Moss' ability to draw the double team had little/no effect on the running game?

Wide outs are on the field for at best half the game, unless they're doing double duty as a KR, PR, or DB. How come there are guys that can go full tilt all game, while Moss has to take a few plays off? While blocking might be the last thing you'd want in a WR, doesn't a WR that block well add value to the offense?

Take the analogy of Arod vs. David Ortiz in the AL MVP race. While they have similar OPS, Ortiz holds the lead in HR & RBIs. However Arod has more SB (& is obviously a better base runner), and plays gold glove level defense at a premium position. Shouldn't that easily make him the better candidate?

115
by KnickerBlogger (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 12:08pm

re: 105. Here is a good test for wide receivers

Test A.
Guys that make any qb look good? This is the rice category
Moss, T.O

Oh yeah, T.O. has made his QBs look great! He outright called Garcia a homosexual, then ratted on McNabb to the press by accusing him of folding under pressue during the most critical game of his career. TO & Moss are more into making themselves look good. (Of course with their antics, they can't get that right half the time either).

As for Jerry Rice, he was arguably one of the best players of all time, possibly the most well rounded at his position. I don't think either should be put in the same category as Rice.

116
by KnickerBlogger (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 12:13pm

One more on WRs that can't/won't block: aren't they giving the opposing DBs a rest with those lazy 5 yard outs?

117
by Jason (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 2:46pm

ONE QUESTION: If marvin harrison played on grass with a quarterback not named peyton manning would he be any good. "NO" Randy Moss and T.O. can play with any quarterback and their numbers won't suffer at all. I am sick and tired of you "moral saints" getting on Moss and TO b/c of their personality. Moss/TO/Owens/Chad Johnson, 1 2 3 and 4. Peyton Manning makes marvin harrison, plus Marvin FALLS DOWN, torry holt benefits from mike martz throwing it everydown. Last question if you had one game ticket who would you pay to see: Torry Holt and Marvin Harrison running "good" routes or TO juking out half the defense and Moss making one-hand catches in the back of the endzone. Football is a game and it is meant to be entertaining. TO MOSS JOHNSON are entertainers, Marvin Harrison "BORING" and overpaid. 66 million to a 33 year old receiver, what a joke.

118
by DavidH (not verified) :: Sat, 09/24/2005 - 3:35pm

#115:

He wasn't talking about making them look great off the field. He was talking about them looking great ON the field. You know, where they play the game. Owens can kidnap T.O's mom for all I care, if he still catches 2 TD's a game, he would be the best receiver. The best person? No. But best receiver

119
by KnickerBlogger (not verified) :: Sun, 09/25/2005 - 12:54am

#118. Why would Owens kidnap his own mom?

120
by SJM (not verified) :: Sun, 09/25/2005 - 2:21am

Guys, go to SI.com and check out Doc Z's mailbag. He was just baiting us, he really thinks Moss and TO are the best, even with their shortcomings.

121
by DavidH (not verified) :: Sun, 09/25/2005 - 3:56am

Oops. Replace "Owens" or "T.O." with Moss.