NFL

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Pick Six: Peyton, RG3, Luck have new receiving threats

  • Print

Just what Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III need: more dynamic receivers.

Six NFL teams have made significant alterations in their passing games. Denver, Indianapolis, Washington and Baltimore did so with proven wideouts. Tampa Bay and Houston chose new quarterbacks to combine with an established target.

A Pick Six of new passing combinations:

Denver: Eric Decker left Manning for Geno Smith and the Jets. In his place is Emmanuel Sanders, who has more speed than Decker and also can return kicks. He's not as big a target as Decker, but Sanders is more dangerous, especially with Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas on hand.

"I wanted to go to a team that would sling the ball around the field," Sanders said.

He sure found one.

Indianapolis: Just about any free-agent receiver would be enticed by joining Luck, perhaps the best pure passer among the young NFL quarterbacks. Hakeem Nicks got the opportunity, though it meant leaving two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.

Nicks had a strong start to his career with the Giants, then was plagued by injuries and indifferent play the last two seasons.

Now, he says he's healthy and should be able to team with T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne to spread the field for Luck.

Washington: Most eyes in the nation's capital will be on RG3's mobility after a lost season. Many ears will be on his conversations with new coach Jay Gruden after the discord between Griffin and Mike Shanahan.

Griffin certainly has a stronger chance of recapturing his 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year form now that DeSean Jackson is on his side. Jackson's game-breaking skills, along with his desire to show the Eagles they erred in getting rid of him, should enhance a potentially powerful offence.

"We're going to be tough, because whatever (an opponent) decides to stop, we've got other options," Jackson said.

Watch for him to be a main option.

Baltimore: When Anquan Boldin left the Ravens after their 2012 championship season, so did much of the edge in Baltimore's passing game.

That feistiness and physicality is back with Steve Smith joining Joe Flacco.

This is a juicy pairing because Flacco desperately needed a wideout who could intimidate, and Smith needed a seasoned quarterback with a formidable arm and the freedom to use it.

"I like the way he throws," Smith said. "He makes it easy to catch the ball."

Watch for Smith to do so about 80 times this season.

Tampa Bay: Somehow, despite the turmoil in Tampa last season, Vincent Jackson caught 78 passes for 1,224 yards and seven TDs. Now, he has a somewhat-accomplished veteran throwing to him in Josh McCown.

All McCown did last year in Chicago was take over for injured Jay Cutler and look like a top-level passer. He's intelligent, experienced, and the best thing Jackson has had on the other end of passes since he left Philip Rivers and the Chargers.

"I think a lot of it just has to do with his savviness on the field," VJax said of McCown. "He's a very smart guy. He understands space and location and separation on routes and the way the dimensions of a defence work."

Houston: Andre Johnson has been one of the NFL's top receivers for a decade, having the most success with Matt Schaub. But Schaub now is in Oakland, and journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick gets the call.

Fitzpatrick has plenty of starting experience, and he's never had a pass-catch partner as skilled as Johnson. But he's also maddeningly inconsistent, and Houston has no proven wideout to complement Johnson.

"Anytime you have somebody like that on your team it's a great thing," Fitzpatrick says of Johnson, "and he'll be a great player like he always has (been) and a great leader for us this year."

But maybe not nearly as productive.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

HSC ready for Ebola

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A gaggle of Canada geese goslings at Woodsworth Park in Winnipeg Monday- See Project Honk Day 05- May 07, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Goose sits in high grass near Marion Friday afternoon for cover -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 18 - May 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who has been the biggest disappointment on the Jets to start the season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google