Could it be that we're going overboard about our wide receivers? Of course, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are a sexy duo, so it's appealing to think of Todd Haley duplicating those efforts here in KC. Or how about Scott Pioli forming a Randy Moss and Wes Welker sort of partnership here in Arrowhead? But some recent reading and consideration I've done concerning the WR position had led me to believe that there are more important aspects going on.
It's funny because the biggest divas in the NFL are at the receiver position. Sure, some bigger-than-life profiles can be found at almost any position in the NFL (although I'd love to see a punter doing an Ickey Shuffle of some sort), but largely it's a Chad Johnson here (sorry I won't acknowledge anything else), the Terrell Owens there... heck, even Roddy White's held out this off-season like he wasn't as irrelevant as Snoop Minnis his first two seasons in the league. But when it gets down to it, the stats seem to support the idea that its the offensive scheme and the quarterback who matter the most.
More thoughts after the jump...A recent article at Football Outsiders displays a brilliant breakdown of the receiver position and the stat known as Catch Rate (the number of times that receiver is targeted divided by the number of actual catches). Please visit the article if you time, but if not, the basic premise is that rare is the receiver who actually makes a huge difference in and of his own self. Instead, a receiver known as a solid or good one can quickly become irrelevant when removed from the scheme or suitable offensive surroundings.
Case in point given is D.J. Hackett, a recent athlete brought in to work out for the Chiefs. Hackett was considered a free agent prize only a couple years ago when signing with the Panthers. I personally remember several magazines and web sites flaunting the Carolina move as a "steal" and evidence of a smart front office. Two years later, he's still looking for a job. Why? Because looking at his catch rates and other such stats failed to show how dependent Hackett was on the coaching scheme he played in and the offensive talent around him.
I have a feeling after this year that people will be talking about the Bears receivers in a positive way. Someone there will break out with an unexpected season and will become a "name" receiver. And that's a shame since really it will mostly be Cutler's ridiculous arm. Consider the Saints. Guys like Lance Moore and a seventh round pick like Marques Colston become names we recognize as fans and we think the Saints GM has unearthed this incredible talent. Perhaps that's true, but could it also be that Sean Payton is a heckuva coach and that Drew Brees might be the most accurate passer in the game today?
Mark Bradley might be the "answer." Devard Darling might prove to be more than a workout warrior. Quentin Lawrence might become the burner we've been searching for. But all of that may or may not come true more because of the offensive plans of Chan Gailey and the talent and abilities of Matt Cassel than anything on their personal part. And with the early positive returns on our coaching staff from the outside looking in and the success of Cassel last season when thrust into the role of starter, we might be just fine with who we already have in house.