A.J. Green, Julio Jones and the 5 NFL Stars Who Will Get Even Better in 2012
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images
NFL stars are very good to begin with, and in 2011, there were a plethora of stars that put up ridiculous numbers.
I will leave guys like Calvin Johnson and Arian Foster off this list as well.
We are talking about NFL stars who are elite at their position, put up solid numbers in 2011 and will look to put up extraordinary numbers in 2012.
As a result, who will be the 2011 NFL stars that will be even better in 2012?
A.J. Green was good in 2011, but he will be greater in 2012
Missing the entire offseason due to the NFL lockout in 2011 would hurt any rookie wide receiver's production.
Not A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals, as this 6'4'', 209-pound athletic phenom put up 65 receptions for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011.
So how does this NFL star get even better in 2012?
Well, having a whole offseason this year to establish a rapport with quarterback Andy Dalton will help Green's production even more.
Additionally, with the return of Jordan Shipley from injury and the Bengals drafting athletic Rutgers product Mohamed Sanu, Green will be able to avoid being double-covered over the top on deep routes.
Moreover, if Green wants to take the leap from NFL star to NFL superstar in 2012, he has to run crisper routes.
This offseason, Green has worked out extensively on his route running with Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to become even more explosive.
Furthermore, with an actual offseason, more weapons and becoming a more polished receiver, Green will go from NFL star in 2011 to NFL superstar in 2012.
Julio Jones will do even more damage in 2012
Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons actually falls into the same boat as A.J. Green; both were NFL stars in 2011 and can be NFL superstars in 2012.
In 2011, Jones posted 54 receptions for 959 yards and eight touchdowns, despite missing three games due to injury.
As long as Jones stays healthy in 2012, he should easily surpass those numbers.
Last time I checked, the Falcons also still have an NFL superstar in Roddy White, who will free up Jones for the deep balls in 2012.
Moreover, the Falcons will also be adding a whole new dimension to their offensive game plan in 2012 that includes a no-huddle and more pass-heavy attack, which can only boost Jones' production in 2012.
A clean bill of health, Roddy White on the other side and a pass-heavy offense will transform Jones into an NFL superstar in 2012.
Ryan Mathews will be a superstar in 2012
Ryan Mathews of the San Diego Chargers had over 1,500 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in 2011, despite missing two games because of injuries.
Moreover, his production in 2011 would have been even greater had it not been for Mike "The Vulture" Tolbert taking away 900 total yards and 10 touchdowns.
The good news for Mathews in 2012 is Tolbert is now with the Carolina Panthers, so Mathews will have every chance to be an NFL superstar in 2012.
As a result, Mathews will now become an every-down workhorse back for the Chargers in 2012, which means he should surpass at least 2,000 total yards and double-digit touchdowns.
Furthermore, with Vincent Jackson now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Chargers will look for even more balance with Mathews in the running game.
In fact, Chargers head coach Norv Turner has coached several superstar backs that have led the NFL in rushing attempts and yards, so why not Matthews in 2012?
DeMarco Murray will be a beast for the Cowboys in 2012
DeMarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys was an NFL star in 2011 when he emerged on the scene, replacing starter Felix Jones in Week 7 against the St. Louis Rams and putting up 253 yards and a touchdown.
Murray continued his dominance, rushing for 130-plus yards in back-to-back weeks against Seattle, one of the better run defenses in the NFL, and Buffalo.
However, Murray's 2011 season was cut short, as he missed the last three games due to injury.
Now healthy, Murray is clearly the top running back on the depth chart and the every-down back for the Cowboys.
As long as he can stay healthy in 2012, he can easily surpass 2,000 total yards and double-digit touchdowns.
Furthermore, Murray is more than capable of being an NFL superstar in 2012.
Dez Bryant will be in attack mode in 2012
In 2011, Dez Bryant posted 63 receptions for 928 yards and nine touchdowns, despite missing time due to injuries.
Bryant also had to compete for targets in 2011 with Jason Witten, Miles Austin and Laurent Robinson.
The good news for Bryant in 2012 is he is the team's No. 1 wide receiver on the depth chart, and Robinson (858 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2011) is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Moreover, in this 2012 offseason, Bryant, is healthy, working on route running, catching balls and becoming more of a leader on this Cowboy team.
As Bryant enters his third year in the NFL, look for him to become an NFL superstar in 2012.