Wide-Outs Ready to Fly
With the latter stages of free agency settling in, we are beginning to get the vaguest of ideas of what the NFL landscape will look like in the coming season. Teams have spent big on risky additions, and if you’re Bill Bellichick, you’ve used the power of the Dark Side to manipulate your enemies into basically wanting to help you build your powerhouse even larger.
Though the draft is still weeks away, one position group that saw some interesting movement was wide-receiver. Some teams were able to bolster an already talented group, potentially putting them over the edge, while others were able to make the leap from lifeless salt-flat to a lush green paradise.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
Over the Top: New York Giants
Brandon Marshall was one of the earliest signings this off-season due to the fact he was released by the Jets, and therefore not bound by the restrictions of the free agency signing period. Over a period of two seasons in Gotham, he compiled 2,290 yards on 168 receptions for 17 touchdowns. After topping the 1,000+ yard mark his first year there, the bottom fell out on journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and his production dipped significantly because of it.
Marshall, who also has a contract for his sports-talk spot on SHO, didn’t stray far from his old team in New York, signing with the cross-hallway rival Giants, where he will join star pass-catcher and enemy of kicking nets everywhere Odell Beckham Jr, and promising second year player Sterling Shepard. Marshall has stated publically since the announcement that Odell is entrenched as the team’s number one guy, while he plans to step into the number two spot. Shepard is slated as the number three, giving Big Blue a potential three-headed dragon of weapons for Eli Manning to throw to.
The Giants organization once said it was their goal to score at least 30 points a game, and that is looking especially possible with the addition of Marshall. After their defensive spending spree last offseason paid off when they finished ranked number ten overall, this looks like a team poised to make a deep run in the post season. Now, if they could just find a running back. AP anyone?
0 to 100 Real Quick: Philadelphia Eagles
Rookie Carson Wentz was able to compile some nice tape after being thrust into the starter role for Philadelphia last season following the trade of Sam Bradford. Still, he struggled through the middle of the season, and ended the year having thrown 16 TD’s to 14 interceptions. His top targets through the year were Jordan Matthews, and Tennessee cast-off Dorial Green-Beckham.
General Manager Howie Roseman knew getting his young passer some more weapons this off-season was a must if his development were to continue properly. So he went out and got former 1000+ plus yard receiver Torrey Smith from San Francisco, and certified (though oft-injured) number one guy Alshon Jeffrey.
Smith didn’t do much on the West-Coast, dealing with a dismal cast of signal-callers. Now, he gives Wentz a real deep-threat who can take the top off a defense. Jeffrey, meanwhile, is a big bodied pass catcher who can be impossible to cover in the red zone, while also flashing the ability to beat you deep. As long as he stays on the field, he should outplay the one year deal given to him in-route to cashing in.
I Think I Feel a Pulse: The Cleveland Browns
Saying anything good about the occupants of the now-coined ‘Factory of Sadness’ is potential career suicide for any kind of aspiring sports journalist. I crossed that threshold long ago. So therefore, I have no shame in writing these next few paragraphs.
Though the departure of Terrell Pryor may have blind-sided many Browns fans who thought they had found the first cornerstone to their franchise’s rebuild, it shouldn’t spell doom for the Dawg Pound. Kenny Britt brings a wealth of experience having played 6+ seasons in the NFL now, first with the Titans, then most recently with the Rams. Meanwhile, 2016 first-round pick Corey Coleman should continue his development while creating a pivotal role for himself in the offense.
The Browns spent four draft picks last year on wide receivers, and we should definitely see the return of at least two of them (Coleman being one). While Coleman batted injuries throughout his rookie season, fellow rookie Ricardo Louis was able to make his own small impact, compiling a total of 205 yards on 18 receptions. Other rookies Rashard Higgins and Jordan Payton totaled 77 and 3 yards respectively, and may be long shots to make the roster next season.
If Kenny Britt works out and the Browns can properly develop their young pass catchers, there might actually be some hope on the horizon for the shores of Lake Erie.
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Penguin Tundra Sports Blog was created in 2016 by a very bored college student who was obsessed with Rugby and Football. That same college student knew how to write pseudo-intelligently, so what better way to show off than to create a blog. Along your journey though the Tundra's domain, you may come across outlandish opinions, horrible spelling errors, and some shit that is just outright wrong. Well then, you should comment, give my blog more attention, and we will have our day in internet court. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy talking about sports as much as I do.
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