FanPost

A true #1 WR; how necessary are they?

 

Do teams really need a big time #1 receiver outside the hash marks to be successful on offense? Can teams with other receiving options, say for example a great TE and some very good pass catching RB's, still be successful on offense if the WR doesn't put up big numbers or draw constant double teams? A look at some recent NFL history;

In 1996 the Denver Broncos leading receiver was TE Shannon Sharpe who had 80 catches for 1062 yards and 10 Td's. Their top 2 WR's were Anthony Miller (56 for 735 and 3 Td's) and Ed McCaffery (48 for 553 and 7 Td's). They were the #1 ranked Offense in the NFL.

 

In 1997 the Denver Broncos leading receiver was again Shannon Sharpe who had 72 catches for 1107 yards and 3Td's. Their top 2 WR's were Rod Smith (70 for 1180 and 12 Td's) and Ed McCaffery (45 for 590 and 8 Td's). They were the #1 ranked Offense in the NFL and won the Superbowl.

 

From 2001 to 2005 the Kansas City Chiefs were led in receptions by either the TE or the RB every year with the WR sometimes ranking in third place. Three out of the five years the TE also led the team in yards. Their offensive rankings from 2001 to 2005 were 5th, 4th, 2nd, 1st and 1st.

 

From 2004 to 2006 the San Diego Chargers were led in receptions, yards and Td's by the TE every year with the second place receiver being the RB two out of the three years also. Their offensive rankings from 2004 to 2006 were 10th, 10th and 4th.

 

In 2003 New England won the Superbowl without a 900 yard WR.

 

In 2004 New England had the 7th ranked offense and won the Superbowl without a 1000 yard WR.

 

In 2005 Pittsburgh won the Superbowl without a 1000 yard WR.

 

The Indianapolis Colts are the only real dynamic QB & WR offense that has won the Superbowl in the new century. Go look through the recent Superbowl winners WR list and you will be thoroughly underwhelmed. Of the 18 starters there's some good players but great statistical WR's are a rarity. Of the eighteen WR's who have started for winning Superbowl teams this decade only three had over 1100 yards that season (Harrison & Wayne 2006 and Troy Brown 2001). 11 of the 18 starting WR's failed to even reach 1000 yards for the season. That is more than half (61% to be precise).

 

Before the Colts, the last real prolific offense to win a Superbowl was the Saint Louis Rams back in 1999. Where are the Superbowls for Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Steve Smith, Andre Johnson, Chad Johnson etc. Most of the Superbowls in between have been won by good defensive teams with less than spectacular offenses (some were good rushing teams while other offenses ranked quite poor). While having a dynamic deep ball offense would be great and is fun to watch, not having one is by no means a death sentence for your teams Superbowl aspirations.

 

In fact Dallas' switch to a slightly more conservative (less turnovers) ball control (more running) offense like they've been claiming they're doing should actually increase our chances of success late in the season when it counts. It's not WR catches and yards that win games and Superbowls, it's usually strong defense and an offense that can hold onto the ball. We're headed in the right direction.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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