Some say the NFL never sleeps.
It’s certainly true of the media, whomst are determined not to put their Russell Wilson erasure to rest.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com, recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, decided to celebrated his inaugural year of famedom by releasing one of the more unfounded lists about quarterback and wide receiver pairings. The full article is posted here, while I have direct quoted the first line of each pairing for simplicity.
1) Drew Brees and Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints: No receiver in NFL history has ever caught more passes in one season than Thomas’ 149 in 2019.
2) Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons: Don’t overlook this pair coming off the Falcons’ disappointing 2019.
Field Gulls 2.5) Consider them overlooked.
3) Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals: I have a world of respect for Texans coach Bill O’Brien, and I will give him the benefit of the doubt for his decision to trade away one of the NFL’s great receivers.
Field Gulls 3.5) Look, words are hard. If you ever need help knowing what to say as you go throughout life, might I recommend avoiding the above sentence. Avoid it like you would the state of Florida at the moment. Avoid it like it’s Covid-19, 20, and 21. “Respect, benefit of doubt,” and “Bill O’Brien” should not exist on the same website, much less the same article, and far less in the same breath. In a year of shocking football moves, the above BoB statement actually made me swallow my gum, and I am still upset about it.
However, it did clarify some things. Bill O’Brien very clearly does not know what makes a good football player, and neither apparently does Brandt. And so the list continues:
4) Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys: The selection of Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb with the 17th overall pick could have a positive impact on Cooper.
5) Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs: Every notable skill-position player returns to the offense of the defending champions.
6) Tom Brady and Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Brady hasn’t had two pass-catchers top 1,100 receiving yards in the same season since 2011, when Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker did it — to find another instance before that, you have to go back to the days of Randy Moss (Moss and Welker pulled it off in 2009 and ‘07).
Field Gulls 6.5) We’ve now entered the woods where I would contend that every one of these receivers is more deserving than their respective QB, if we’re predicting 2020 success.
Field Gulls 6.75) In fact, I’m not even sure if we are defining success. Brandt claims these are the 10 best, and offers no justification whatsoever for what that means.
7) Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers: There are plenty of questions swirling around Rodgers and the Packers in the wake of Green Bay’s selection of Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
8) Ryan Tannehill and A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans: Brown led all 2019 rookies in receiving yards (1,051) as the main big-play target for the Titans when opposing defenses got sucked into play-action fakes to running back Derrick Henry.
9) Matthew Stafford and Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions: Stafford is my leader in the clubhouse in the 2020 Comeback Player of the Year race after a back injury cost him half the 2019 season — he was on pace to near his career highs in passing yards (5,038) and passing touchdowns (41).
10) Philip Rivers and T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts: Rivers and Hilton are both coming off a down 2019. Hampered by injury and inconsistent quarterback play, Hilton barely topped 500 receiving yards, while Rivers got as close as he ever has to a 1:1 TD-to-INT ratio (23:20).
Field Gulls 10.5) Well alrighty then. As ringing an endorsement I’ve ever seen, and hard to argue. Impossible, really.
Immediately recognizable is the absence of Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett, among a host of other problems.
Included in Brandt’s list are three pairs that have never played ball together. Brady to Evans, Murray to Hopkins, and the
75 38-year-old Philip Rivers to T.Y. Hilton.
Wilson and Lockett aren’t even the only duo who should have a gripe here. There’s a few, but at the very least it’s hard to ignore Jared Goff to Cooper Kupp. Especially behind Stafford and Golladay, for a couple of reasons. The first is simple, and it’s that Stafford is bad. The second is that as good of numbers as Golladay had in 2019, they came behind a 56% catch rate - light years behind the mid 70s of either Kupp or Lockett.
Besides, there are question marks of at least size 14 font attached to the bottom five quarterbacks. Not a single one of them has given an indication that 2020 will even be an above average year for them, let alone something near their peak performance.
Maybe Stafford, because his peak is really small. More like a hill.
So yes, it’s a highly perplexing list, and nothing that affects the play of the Seattle Seahawks in their upcoming season. But it’s another fish in the enormous pool of people that for whatever unholy and indefensible reasons continue to forget Russell Wilson is in the NFL.
There’s also some telling evidence in a list like this however, and it’s the bit that’s no surprise to Seahawk fans. Seattle doesn’t have the highlight-reel passing game to get the million-yard receivers (though the Rams sure do) and it often is why they are ignored in this type of coverage. Tyler Lockett is the closest thing by efficiency alone. He missed significant time last year and still became the first 1,000-yard receiver besides Doug Baldwin in Wilson’s career.
But where would you rank Wilson-to-Lockett? If you want to win your fantasy league, sure maybe not those guys, especially Lockett. But the NFL media isn’t supposed to behave like over-caffeinated fantasy analysts, and I’d slap you right in the face if you told me the Seahawks duo are worse at winning NFL games than Ryan Tannehill and AJ Brown.
Wilson and Lockett as a tandem in 2020...
This poll is closed
1st! (this is the wrong answer)
Depends on Brady this year
Gil Brandt is a good football analyst