Posts Tagged ‘Wide Receivers’

Aaron Rodgers isn’t happy with what he’s seen from the Green Bay Packers‘ young pass-catchers lately.

“The young guys, especially young receivers, we’ve got to be way more consistent,” the quarterback said Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “A lot of drops, a lot of bad route decisions, running the wrong route. We’ve got to get better in that area.”

The Packers had drop issues in their preseason opener Friday against the San Francisco 49ers, and those struggles remained during the team’s joint practice with the New Orleans Saints. Rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs dropped what Rodgers described as his best throw of Tuesday’s practice.

“(The regular season is) coming up. … We’re going to play our best guys when the season starts,” Rodgers said. “And whoever those guys are, those guys are going to get the reps. It’s the guys I trust the most and the guys the coaches trust the most. A lot of it is just the simple responsibility in the offense.”

He added: “You keep dropping the ball, you’re not going to be out there. It’s going to be the most reliable guys that are out there. The preparation and the job responsibility is most important. There’s going to be physical mistakes, like we’ve talked about, but if you’re going out there and dropping the ball and somebody else behind you is in the right spot all the time and catching the ball, that guy’s going to play.”

Doubs, who’s stood out at practice due to his impressive catches, caught a 33-yard touchdown against the 49ers last week, though he also had two drops.

The Packers, who traded All-Pro receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders in March, were criticized for not drafting a wideout with one of their two first-round picks this year. Green Bay eventually did add to the position, selecting Christian Watson (second round), Doubs (fourth round), and Samori Toure (seventh round). Watson has yet to participate in 11-on-11 practices as he recovers from a knee injury.

Green Bay’s wide receiver depth chart is headlined by veterans Allen LazardSammy Watkins, and Randall Cobb.

Aaron Rodgers is excited by the physical traits of the Green Bay Packers‘ rookie wide receivers.

“Physically, they definitely look the part. All three of them,” the superstar quarterback said on “The Pat McAfee Show” on Wednesday.

“All have physical gifts. Obviously, the top two picks are bigger – (Romeo) Doubs and (Christian) Watson – but the seventh-round pick got a lot of stuff to him. I think it’s going to be great.”

The Packers, who lost receivers Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling this offseason, didn’t use any of their two first-round picks on a wideout. Instead, the team drafted Watson in the second round, Doubs in the fourth round, and Samori Toure in Round 7.

Rodgers, the reigning back-to-back NFL MVP, believes the young pass-catchers will be put to the test against Green Bay’s solid defense at training camp.

“There’s no better teacher for them on what NFL ball is going to be like than going up against our top three corners, Jaire (Alexander), Eric Stokes, and Rasul (Douglas),” Rodgers said.

He added: “I like the way our defense is looking and playing. … There could be some growing pains for the offense, which will be great for us.”

Green Bay’s wide receiver depth chart also features Allen LazardRandall Cobb, and Sammy Watkins, whom the club signed this offseason.

Rodgers is confident the Packers will overcome the loss of former All-Pro Adams.

“Every year, there are opinions that start coming out about players in helmets and shorts,” Rodgers said. “I would just say, ‘Everybody, take a nice, deep, long breath and trust the training camp time that we have. Trust the coaching staff. Trust the relationships that will be formed. Trust the guys in the room like Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Sammy Watkins to help these young guys out.'”

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes believes it will take a group effort to replace departed star wide receiver Tyreek Hill this season.

“That’s what you’re going to see with this offense this year,” Mahomes said Thursday, according to ESPN’s Adam Teicher. “It’s going to be everybody. It’s not all going to be one guy. Obviously (tight end Travis Kelce) is still going to get a lot of completions, a lot of yards, but the whole receiving room is going to have big days, and that can be something we use to our advantage.

“It’s a very deep receiving room. It’s hard to tell which guys are going to make it because we’ve got so many good receivers. That’s what you want. You want that competition. You want guys competing every single day to make the roster because they’re going to help us in the end.”

Hill’s trade request after extension talks with the Chiefs stalled was arguably one of the biggest surprises of a drama-filled NFL offseason. The team shipped him to the Miami Dolphins in late March for a package that included a first-round pick.

The 28-year-old speedster led the Chiefs with 111 catches for 1,259 yards and nine touchdowns last season, while no other wideout on the team exceeded 700 yards.

Kansas City aggressively worked to rebuild its receiver group, with free agents JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling signing one- and three-year deals, respectively.

The reigning AFC West champions also drafted Skyy Moore in the second round and added former Clemson star Justyn Ross as an undrafted free agent. Ross was viewed as a possible first-round selection before being diagnosed with a congenital spinal condition and missing the entire 2020 season.

Mahomes got to grips with his new weapons during workouts he organized in Texas.

“I think we got some chemistry in … working out with them, throwing with them, we’d go to lunch, we’d go to dinner, stuff like that,” Mahomes said. “You kind of build chemistry.

“I think it’s translated. So far in the practices, we feel like we’re on the same page … and we’re going to keep building on that.”

After missing out on Tyreek Hill, the New York Jets might suddenly have another great chance at adding a big-time pass-catcher.

New York’s been strongly linked as a potential destination for Deebo Samuel since the wide receiver asked for a trade from the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday.

It’s unclear if San Francisco will move the All-Pro wideout, and Jets general manager Joe Douglas said Thursday that he couldn’t get into specifics about players on other rosters. But when asked about the wide receiver market, he said the team would be aggressive “if the right opportunity presents itself.”

“Since coming here, my job has been to get the team better,” Douglas said. “I’ll do that any way that I can.”

The Jets have been trying to give quarterback Zach Wilson more offensive playmakers. The team brought in two new tight ends in C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin, but New York hasn’t yet bolstered its wide receiver depth chart. Despite the Jets reportedly being a finalist for Hill earlier this offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs dealt him to the Miami Dolphins.

Douglas has selected two receivers in the second round since joining the Jets (Denzel Mims in 2020 and Elijah Moore in 2021). He also signed wideout Corey Davis to a three-year, $37.5-million deal last offseason.

“It’s going to be about developing and helping our young quarterback,” Douglas said. “Outside of that, it’s about adding as many difference-makers as you can to the roster, and making sure that they fit within the culture and scheme that we’re trying to provide.”

Douglas’ investments at wide receiver have yet to pay off, though, as Moore led the team with just 538 yards and five touchdowns on 43 receptions last season. New York also saw Wilson, the second overall pick in 2021, pass for only nine touchdowns against 11 interceptions through 13 appearances as a rookie.

The Jets, who ranked 28th in scoring, went 4-13 in 2021, their sixth straight losing campaign.

“We expect to be playing meaningful games in December,” Douglas added. “We feel like we’re a better team now than we were at the end of last season, and we’re going to get better here in a few days.”

The Cleveland Browns are planning to revitalize their wide receiver group via free agency and the draft ahead of a make-or-break year for quarterback Baker Mayfield, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Howe and Zac Jackson.

The Browns are reportedly interested in Chris GodwinMike Williams, and Allen Robinson, among others. Amari Cooper, who is reportedly likely to be released by the Dallas Cowboys, is also a possibility, per Howe and Jackson.

Jarvis Landry‘s future in Cleveland is in doubt, heightening the team’s need to overhaul the position.

The Browns would reportedly save more than $15 million by cutting their leading receiver from the last four seasons, and it’s unlikely the two sides would agree to a restructured contract.

Free-agent Rashard Higgins also apparently isn’t expected to return, potentially leaving Cleveland with just Donovan Peoples-Jones and Anthony Schwartz at wide receiver.

Fantasy Plays Football

FILE – In this Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018, file photo, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (19) looks back as he runs in for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Arlington, Texas. Cooper has caught 16 of 17 targets in the past two weeks and will have a great opportunity to continue his pace against an Eagles pass defense that is 30th in fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins, File)

The Dallas Cowboys didn’t need a new starting-caliber wide receiver this offseason, but they left the 2020 NFL Draft with perhaps the class’ best wideout in CeeDee Lamb.

With Lamb in the fold, star wide receiver Amari Cooper now expects the Cowboys’ receiving corps to accomplish a rare feat in 2020.

“I think it was a great pickup,” Cooper said of Lamb, according to Todd Archer of ESPN. “You have to draft the best player on the board. Everybody understands that. He’s a great receiver.

“I think with me and (wide receiver) Michael Gallup going for 1,000 yards last year, the expectation is to have three 1,000-yard receivers this year.”

Only five teams in NFL history have had three wideouts post 1,000 receiving yards or more in the same season.

TEAM YEAR PLAYERS
Cardinals 2008 Larry Fitzgerald/Anquan Boldin/Steve Breaston
Colts 2004 Reggie Wayne/Marvin Harrison/Brandon Stokley
Falcons 1995 Eric Metcalf/Bert Emanuel/Terance Mathis
Washington 1989 Gary Clark/Art Monk/Ricky Sanders
Chargers 1980 John Jefferson/Kellen Winslow/Charlie Joiner

Cooper led the Cowboys with 1,189 receiving yards last season, while Gallup ranked second after amassing 1,107 yards. Randall Cobb, who racked up 828 yards, finished third in receiving for Dallas. Cobb signed a free-agent contract with the Houston Texans this offseason.

Dallas selected Lamb 17th overall in April after he posted an outstanding career at Oklahoma. The former Sooners standout recorded 173 catches for 3,292 yards and 32 touchdowns over three college seasons.

Cooper, meanwhile, signed a five-year, $100-million deal with the Cowboys in March after earning his second straight Pro Bowl nod. The 26-year-old, who joined the team in 2018 in a trade from the then-Oakland Raiders, turned down a more lucrative offer from the Washington Football Team in order to remain with Dallas.

“I just liked everything about being a Dallas Cowboy,” Cooper said, according to Archer. He added: “I’ve been privileged to play on different teams, so I understand the culture isn’t the same in every city. Every team isn’t the same … having the opportunity to be on a team I really love, I wouldn’t trade that for a little bit more money.”

Baker Mayfield might be in just his second professional season, but the Cleveland Browns quarterback already knows it’s hard to win in the NFL if teammates can’t be honest with each other.

At a practice last weekend, Mayfield yelled at his receiving corps for failing to work back to him while he was scrambling.

On Wednesday, Mayfield – who filled his rookie highlight reel with improvised plays – addressed his brief outburst.

“Those guys know that’s a big part of our offense,” Mayfield said, according to ESPN’s Jake Trotter. “It’s just the fact that if we get lazy and let things slide – we need to be open to communicating right now.

“That’s what the good teams do.”

In a blockbuster trade in March, the Browns added three-time Pro Bowl wideout Odell Beckham Jr. to a stacked offense that already included 2017 receptions leader Jarvis Landry, sending Cleveland’s previously sky-high expectations into the stratosphere.

With the pressure to live up to that hype mainly falling onto Mayfield’s shoulders, the 2018 No. 1 overall pick said he was grateful for how open Beckham has been since his shock move from the New York Giants.

“There’s an appreciation from my end that (Beckham) has been able to come communicate and talk through things,” Mayfield said. “Just being able to talk through things, and see it from their perspective and mine, is really good.”

While some head coaches would take issue with a second-year quarterback ripping into his teammates during training camp, head coach Freddie Kitchens has no issue with Mayfield venting his frustrations.

“I expect my quarterback to get everybody on the same page,” Kitchens said. “That’s what I want.”

Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson led the Kansas City Chiefs to their only Super Bowl in 1969, and offered a critique of the current state of the franchise Friday.

Dawson was decidedly unimpressed with the Chiefs’ wide receivers, a group that reached a dubious milestone by not recording a touchdown in 2014.

“I think they have to solidify the offensive line, and they have to have some weapons. A wide receiver did not catch a touchdown pass last year,” Dawson said to Jenny Vrentas of Monday Morning Quarterback. “That can’t happen again. You have to have people who are threats. They went out and secured some people. I’ll wait until training camp gets underway to see how they are doing, but they should be better this year than they were last year.”

Kansas City signed Pro Bowler Jeremy Maclin in free agency to bolster the club’s receiving corps. The Chiefs’ offense was criticized last season for being far too reliant on Jamaal Charles’ all-world breakaway speed.

Dawson, the MVP of Super Bowl IV, was impressed by Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith and offered the 31-year-old an important vote of confidence.

“I don’t tell him what to do,” Dawson said. “He’s got enough people talking to him. I just give him encouragement. He’s a good quarterback. And if they give him some help – can you imagine playing the whole season and not one wide receiver catches a pass for a touchdown? I’ve never heard of that. But he’s a good player, and the thing is, his teammates believe in him. That’s the first thing that has to happen.”

Buoyed by a strong running game and pass rush, the Chiefs made a strong push towards the playoffs, ultimately falling short of their goal. With Smith poised to compile another efficient season and armed with a legitimate weapon in Maclin, Kansas City appears poised to return to the postseason after a one-year hiatus.