Best Offensive Player on Every NFL Team
Although Brady and the Patriots lost to the New York Giants 21-17, the 2011 NFL season was, without a doubt, Brady's best season ever. "Tom Terrific" threw for an astounding 5,235 yards with 39 touchdowns and only 12 picks. Brady, without a doubt, is New England's best offensive player.
Who are the other best offensive players on the remaining 31 NFL teams?
Here's a 32-team rundown of every NFL team's best offensive player.
Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald (Wide Receiver)
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It's a shame that Larry Fitzgerald doesn't have a big-time quarterback throwing to him.
Even with quarterbacks Kevin Kolb and John Skelton taking turns, Fitzgerald had a great 2011 season. Entering his ninth campaign, Fitzgerald is coming off a brilliant year of 80 receptions for 1,411 yards and eight touchdown catches. His 17.6 yards per catch average was the best in his career.
Very durable, Fitzgerald has missed only four games in his career. Arizona can ill-afford to have Fitzgerald miss any significant amount of time. The Cardinals finished 19th overall in total offense. A healthy Kolb and a better supporting running attack would benefit Fitzgerald greatly.
Fitzgerald is Arizona's best player by far.
Atlanta Falcons: Micheal Turner (Running Back)
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When running back Michael Turner of the Atlanta Falcons rushes for 100-plus yards in a game, Atlanta is hard to beat.
Since joining the Falcons in 2008, Turner has produced 25 games of rushing for more than 100 yards. Atlanta is 22-3 when he does.
The Falcons have one of the top offenses in the league. Quarterback Matt Ryan threw for over 4,000 yards. Roddy White is one of the NFL's best receivers and ageless tight end Tony Gonzalez is one of the game's all-time greatest at the position. However, it's Turner who makes Atlanta's offense one of the most feared in the game.
In 2011, Turner rushed for 1,340 yards and 11 touchdowns. If the Falcons are to ascend to loftier heights, they must find a way to get Turner on track in the playoffs. In three playoff games, Turner has rushed for 122 yards combined. In their 24-2 loss to the New York Giants this past postseason, Turner rushed for only 42 yards.
Not only is Turner a great league fantasy league pick, but he also the best offensive player for the Atlanta Falcons.
Baltimore Ravens: Ray Rice (Running Back)
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When talking about the NFL's best running backs, you cannot leave out Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens.
In 2011, Rice finished second in the NFL in rushing yards with 1,364 total. The Ravens are limited offensively, but they rely on Rice. Baltimore was 5-0 last season when Rice rushed for more than 100 yards. Entering the 2012 season, Rice has rushed for over 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.
Without a doubt, Ray Rice is the Baltimore Ravens best offensive weapon.
Buffalo Bills: Fred Jackson (Running Back)
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You could argue about which Buffalo Bills player is the best.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for over 3,800 yards passing, and wide receiver Stevie Johnson eclipsed the 1000-yard receiving mark. However, the Bills' best offensive player is running back Fred Jackson.
Jackson was one of the league's best rushers in 2011 before a broken leg sidelined him for the remaining six games. Through nine games, Jackson had rushed for 917 yards but went down in Week 11 against the Miami Dolphins. Buffalo was 5-5 at the time of Jackson's injury but finished 1-5 the rest of the season.
If the Bills are to make a run at a playoff berth this season, Buffalo will need a big season from its best player: Fred Jackson.
Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton (Quarterback)
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Don't look now, but Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is coming to a stadium near you.
The top pick of the 2011 draft had a season that was totally unheard of. Newton threw for the most passing yards ever by a rookie QB (4,051), eclipsing Peyton Manning's mark of 3,739 yards. He threw for 21 touchdowns--one of them going for a 91-yard score against Tampa Bay.
Not only did Newton dazzled opponents with his arm, but with his legs also. Newton led all quarterbacks in rushing with 706 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. Newton captured just about every rookie award, including Rookie of the Year. He also played in the Pro Bowl, replacing Eli Manning of the New York Giants. Along the way, Newton silenced many critics who said he could not play the quarterback position.
If Newton produces another season like he did in 2011, Carolina will probably erect a monument in his honor.
Chicago Bears: Matt Forte (Running Back)
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Forte has rushed for 4,233 yards in his four years with the Bears and has pretty much been the bulk of their offense. However, Forte may have help this season. Quarterback Jay Cutler has new weapons at wide receiver in Brandon Marshall and rookie Alshon Jeffery. Forte barely missed rushing for 1,000 yards last season with 997, but with a healthy Cutler, and if Marshall comes ready to play, Chicago may make a push for the postseason.
Much of the Bears' success this season will depend on the legs of Forte.
Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton (Quarterback)
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Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton came of age last season as a rookie. All he did was throw for 3,398 yards and 20 touchdowns with only 13 interceptions.
For a rookie quarterback, Dalton passed the litmus test. No where was that apparent than the red zone area. Dalton was very efficient, throwing for 15 touchdowns and no interceptions. Dalton led Cincinnati to a 9-7 record and a playoff berth in 2011.
The Bengals offense will look to improve on last year's numbers. Wide receiver A.J. Green made the Pro Bowl as a rookie last season and veteran running back Cedric Benson rushed for over 1,000 yards.
However, Dalton will continue to be the backbone of the team. Cincinnati can ill-afford a second-year jinx from their leading man on offense.
Cleveland Browns: Trent Richardson (Running Back)
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Cleveland Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson hasn't even played one down yet, but he's probably their best offensive player.
The No. 3 pick of this year's draft has Browns' fans dreaming of the glory "Dawg Pound" days of the mid-1980s. During that time, Cleveland had a potent running attack that featured Earnest Byner and Kelvin Mack.
Richardson should breathe life in a rushing attack that finished 28th in the league. The Browns don't have much to offer on offense, so right now, Richarson will have to be the man that carries the offense.
Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo (Quarterback)
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Dallas has not won a Super Bowl since the 1995 season despite having one of the more talented teams for the past couple of seasons. Romo has been the main target for the Cowboys failing to win in recent years--especially down the stretch--but Romo was not the problem last season.
Dallas' defense was the biggest problem for the Cowboys last season. The defense failed to hold their own in fourth quarter leads, including two to the New York Giants--who came from behind to stun Dallas twice to win the NFC East.
Offensively, Dallas has a plethora of offensive weapons. Including Romo, the Cowboys have tight end Jason Witten, running back DeMarco Murray, and, wide receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin.
However, Romo is the undisputed leader of the Cowboys offense.
Denver Broncos: Peyton Manning (Quarterback)
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Seeing Peyton Manning in a Denver Broncos uniform will take some getting use to this season.
Manning was the face of the Indianapolis Colts for 14 seasons, and he led them to winning it all during the 2006 season. However, a neck injury forced Manning to miss all of the 2011 campaign. After the season, the Colts said goodbye to an all-time great by releasing him.
Denver signed the all-time great to a free agent deal this past offseason to be the starting quarterback for the Broncos. The Broncos won a playoff game a year ago with Tim Tebow at the helm. Tebow was let go to make room for Manning. Now, Manning will attempt to breathe life in a Broncos' offense that finished 31st in the league in passing.
If Manning stays healthy, the Broncos could become a Super Bowl contender in 2012.
Detroit Lions: (WR) Calvin Johnson
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Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson strikes a fear anytime he is on the field.
The man who is known around the league as "Megatron" is one of the top overall players in the National Football League. Johnson possesses a combination of size, speed, hands, leaping ability and body control that few other players can match.
Opposing defensive coordinators around the league have nightmares when devising a gameplan to stop Johnson. Johnson led the NFL in 2011 with 1,681 yards receiving. He also led all receivers with 32 catches of 20-plus yards. Out of his 96 receptions, 16 of them went for touchdowns.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford passed for over 5,000 yards to go along with 41 touchdowns, but all in all, the Lions' best offensive player is Calvin Johnson.
Green Bay Packers: (QB) Aaron Rodgers
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The league's top-rated passer threw for 4,643 yards and 45 touchdowns, leading Green Bay to a 15-1 regular season record. However, Rodgers would be upstaged by the New York Giants' Eli Manning in the playoffs. Manning out-dueled Rodgers as the Giants upset Green Bay 37-20. Rodgers had led the Packers to a Super Bowl title the year before against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It took a while for Rodgers to become the face of the offense. The first round pick in 2005 waited for three seasons behind former Green Bay QB great Brett Favre before taking over as the starter in 2008.
Rodgers has now become the face of the franchise, and as he goes, the Packers go.
Houston Texans: (RB) Arian Foster
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In just two short seasons, running back Arian Foster has become the best offensive player for the Houston Texans.
An undrafted free agent in 2009, Foster ran for over 1,600 yards in 2010. Last season, he rushed for 1,224 yards, leading Houston to its first playoff berth ever. Foster is a dual threat. He produced three 100-yard receiving games out of the backfield last season.
Wide receiver Andre Johnson had been the Texans' Mr. Everything on offense for the past couple of season, but injuries would sideline him at times. Now, he has taken a backseat to Foster.
Foster, who signed a multi-million dollar deal this past offseason, will now shoulder much of the offense.
Indianapolis Colts: (WR) Reggie Wayne
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Wide Receiver Reggie Wayne of the Indianapolis Colts has almost become a forgotten man.
With former QB Peyton Manning directing Indy's offense, Wayne was one of the most feared receivers in the NFL. With Manning missing the entire 2011 season because of a neck injury, Wayne's production dropped.
Still, Wayne was 40 yards shy of eclipsing the 1000-yard receiving mark for the eighth straight season. Wayne still led all Colts' receivers with 75 catches.
Wayne will have a new quarterback behind center this season. Manning was let go during the offseason. The move allowed Indianapolis to take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first pick of this year's draft.
While Luck will have to deal with the pressure of performing as the top overall pick, it will be up to Wayne to carry the Colts offense until Luck is up to speed.
Jacksonville Jaquars: (RB) Maurice Jones-Drew
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Not only is running back Maurice Jones-Drew the entire offense for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he also just happens to be the best player on the team period.
Jones-Drew was arguably the best running back in football in 2011. He led the league in rushing yards with 1,606 and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. No player was as more valuable a season ago than Jones-Drew, as he accounted for nearly half of the Jaguars' offense.
Jones-Drew is unhappy with his contract going into the upcoming season and is threatening to holdout of training camp if a new deal is not in place. Jacksonville cannot afford to lose their franchise player for any amount of time.
Until second-year QB Blaine Gabbert develops into a quality starter, the Jaguars have no one else to rely on but Jones-Drew.
Kansas City Chiefs: (WR) Dwayne Bowe
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Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has gone over the 1,000-yard receiving mark in three of his five NFL seasons.
Bowe brings a combination of good size (6'2"), and speed to the Chiefs' offense. Opposing defenses must account for him at all times and can no longer load up the box to stop the running game.
Kansas City had all kinds of injuries last season. Quarterback Matt Cassel and running back Jammal Charles went down with season-ending injuries. However the Chiefs still almost managed to win the AFC West with a 7-9 record.
If Kansas City makes the playoffs this season, you can probably bet that Bowe will be a big reason why.
Miami Dolphins: (RB) Reggie Bush
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Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush finally got what he wanted: a chance to be the featured back.
Bush signed with the Dolphins last offseason after spending his first five seasons with the New Orleans Saints. The former USC Trojan never materialized into the star everyone thought he would become after he was selected as the No. 2 pick of the 2006 draft. Bush was often injured and never could become a starter.
However, Bush would break out with a change of scenery last season. He became the starter from day one and delivered. Bush rushed for 1,086 yards, averaging five yards a carry.
Miami will rely even heavier on Bush this season while the Dolphins break in a new starter at quarterback. Rookie Ryan Tannehill was drafted in the first round to take over from incumbent QB Matt Moore.
Minnesota Vikings: (RB) Adrian Peterson
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The status of Minnesota Vikings All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson is up in the air.
Peterson had reconstructive knee surgery after destroying his his left knee in a game against the Washington Redskins in late December last season.
Only six months removed from the devastating injury, it remains to be seen if Peterson will be ready for the start of the 2012 NFL season. Although he has been a diligent worker with rehabbing his knee, the status of Peterson is 50/50. Not having a healthy Adrian Peterson will be a big blow to a Vikings offense that struggle at times in 2011.
Even if Peterson doesn't play this season, he is the best offensive weapon Minnesota has.
New England Patriots: (QB) Tom Brady
Quarterback Tom Brady is not only the best offensive weapon the New England Patriots have right now, but he is the best player in the history of the franchise.
Brady, last season, passed for a career-high 5,235 yards to go along with 39 touchdown passes as New England fell one game short from winning its fourth Super Bowl title.
Want to know just how valuable Brady is to the Patriots offense? Try 2008.
Brady went down with a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the season. Although New England finished the season 11-5, the Patriots missed the playoffs due to a tiebreaker.
It was only the second time in Brady's 12-year career that the Patriots failed to make the playoffs.
New Orleans Saints: (QB) Drew Brees
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Only one name comes to mind when there is a discussion about the New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees.
The New Orleans Saints had the NFL's top-ranked offense in 2011, and the main reason was the play of Brees. Brees passed for an all-time high and league-high of 5,476 yards and 46 touchdowns. Not only that, but Brees' completion percentage of 71.2 was mind-boggling.
The 2011 NFL season was a record breaking year for quarterback. Brees, Tom Brady (Patriots), Aaron Rodgers (Packers), Matthew Stafford (Lions) and Eli Manning (Giants) all produced outstanding seasons. However, no player had a bigger year than Brees.
Brees, who was unhappy most of the off-season about his contract, is all smiles now. He recently signed a record $100-million dollar deal with $60-million guaranteed.
New Orleans has had an unforgettable offseason. The bounty issue--which saw several players, coaches and team officials suspended--has left a dark cloud of the team entering the 2012 season.
Even with head coach Sean Payton suspended for the entire season, Brees will be even more determined now.
New York Giants: (QB) Eli Manning
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Eli Manning, of the New York Giants, has finally come of age.
The younger Manning has stepped outside the shadow of his older brother, Peyton.
All Manning did a season ago was have a career passing year (4,933 yards), and lead the Giants to their fourth Super Bowl title. It was the second time in the past five seasons that Manning has won a championship. Peyton has won only one.
Eli may never become as famous as his brother, but the New York Giants will not trade him for any other quarterback right now.
New York Jets: (QB) Mark Sanchez
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Sanchez led the Jets to two AFC Championship games in his first two seasons. Last season, the Jets failed to make the postseason with an 8-8 record.
Much of the blame would fall on Sanchez.
Even though he improved his passing numbers--3,494 yards, 26 touchdowns and a 56.7 completion percentage--both the fans and media blamed Sanchez.
Now, Sanchez has to deal with looking over his shoulders. In the offseason, New York picked up last season's media darling,Tim Tebow, to compete for the starting QB job. Tebow was let go by the Denver Broncos after they signed Peyton Manning--who was cut by the Indianapolis Colts.
Although Sanchez will go into training camp as the starter, his psyche will be tested because of Tebow. Tebow won a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last season, and many fans are already claiming Tebow as a hero.
Both Sanchez and Tebow bring a different element to the game. Tebow may mentally be tougher, but Sanchez is a better passer.
For the New York Jets to win this season, Sanchez will need a breakout year.
Oakland Raiders: (RB) Darren McFadden
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Entering his fifth season, McFadden has been besieged with injuries.
McFadden was coming off a 1,157-yard season in 2010 and was hoping for a bigger 2011 season but would fall to injury again. A foot injury against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 23 would end his season. At the time of his injury, McFadden was the leading rusher after Week six. McFadden has missed 19 games since entering the league in 2008.
If McFadden remains healthy this season, look for him to rank amongst the league's top rushers.
Philadelphia Eagles: (RB) Lesean McCoy
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Choosing the best offensive player for the Philadelphia Eagles is a tough one.
With its collection of talented offensive stars, you cannot go wrong in picking which Philadelphia player is the best.
Quarterback Micheal Vick, running back Lesean McCoy and receivers Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are four of the best offensive players in the NFL at their positions. Vick had a renaissance year in 2010, but he would be upstaged by McCoy in 2011. McCoy finally made Eagles' fans forget all about former running back Brian Westbrook. He rushed for 1,309 yards (4th overall), and a league-leading 17 rushing touchdowns.
Opposing defenses have to worry about McCoy breaking a long run on any play. Last season McCoy led the NFL with 17 runs of more than 20 yards.
While Vick, Jackson and Maclin are among the league's best, it's McCoy who is the heart and soul of the Philadelphia Eagles offense.
Pittsburgh Steelers: (QB) Ben Roethlisberger
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The conversation of the Pittsburgh Steelers' best offensive player begins and ends with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
All Roethlisberger has done since entering the league in 2004 is lead the Steelers to two Super Bowl titles and four AFC Championship games.
Although "Big Ben" threw for 4,077 yards and completed over 63 percent of his passes last season, the 2011 campaign was a disappointment for Roethlisberger in the eyes of many. He threw only 21 touchdown passes along with 14 interceptions.
Much of the problem was due to Pittsburgh's putrid offensive line. Known for holding the ball too long and extending plays, Roethlisberger was sacked 40 times (third in the NFL in 2011) It was the fourth time in his career that he has been sacked at least 40 times in a season.
With a new offensive coordinator--Todd Haley--this season, the 2012 NFL year will be a new beginning for Roethlisberger.
Look for "Big Ben" to throw for 4,000-plus yards passing again. If he cuts down on the taking too many sacks, the Steelers will once again be in the hunt for their seventh Super Bowl title.
San Diego Chargers: (QB) Phillip Rivers
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Since the 2008 NFL season, San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers has put up some outstanding passing numbers but is one of the most criticized players in the game.
Rivers has averaged 4,399 passing yards, 29 touchdown passes and a 64.8 completion percentage during the four-year span.
However, Rivers has failed to deliver what San Diego fans treasure most: a Super Bowl.
After going 13-3 in 2009, the Chargers have failed to make the playoffs the past two seasons. Despite the production of Rivers, San Diego has been one of the NFL's most disappointing teams. The Chargers opened the year at 4-1 last season, but would lose six straight before finishing with a 4-1 record to even their record at 8-8.
San Diego still has one of the league's best offenses, and the reason why is Phillip Rivers.
San Francisco 49ers: (RB) Frank Gore
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While other running backs like Adrian Peterson (Minnesota), Lesean McCoy (Philadelphia), Arian Foster (Houston) and Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville) get most of the ink, Gore's game is not that glamorous.
Although he is not that fast, Gore is a tough runner. Gore has excellent vision and makes the most of every carry. He has rushed for at least 1,000 yards in five of the last six NFL seasons.
Gore was very instrumental for the Niners last season. He rushed for 1,211 yards and eight touchdowns as San Francisco won the NFC West for the first time since 2002 with a record of 13-3.
Entering his eighth season, the 29-year old Gore shows no signs of slowing down.
San Francisco will once again be one of the NFL's top teams this season. Their ascension will be even higher if Gore produces another 1,000-yard-plus rushing season.
Seattle Seahawks: (RB) Marshawn Lynch
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Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch celebrated in the end zone often in 2011.
Lynch reached the end zone a career-high 13 times last season for Seattle, with 12 of them coming on the ground.
The Seahawks had one of the league's worst offenses (28th), but Lynch was not the reason. He rushed for a career-high 1,204 yards (seventh-best).
Other than Lynch, Seattle is a team that desperately needs offensive help. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson completed 60 percent of his passes and threw for 3,091 yards (career-high), but he threw for only 14 touchdowns.
Unless there's better production from Jackson, Seattle will continue to rely on the legs of Lynch.
St. Louis Rams: (RB) Steven Jackson
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It seems as if St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson has been in the NFL forever, but he is only 28 years old.
Jackson is the Rams all-time leading rusher with 9,093 yards. That's a major accomplishment considering former Rams' Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson once drove defenses nuts.
He is entering his ninth season and is looking for his ninth consecutive year of rushing for over 1,000 yards. Last season, he rushed for 1,145 yards for a St. Louis team who disappointed many, finishing with a 2-14 record.
St. Louis is still waiting for quarterback Sam Bradford--a former No. 1 pick--to emerge as the new leader of the Rams' offense. But until then, St. Louis will still rely on Jackson.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (QB) Josh Freeman
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Entering the 2011 NFL season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman had many around the league praising his name.
Freeman was coming off a great 2010 season--which was his second in the league--where he threw for 3,451 yards, 25 touchdowns and only six picks.
His pocket awareness and cool composure had many predicting great things for him last season. However, like most quarterbacks, many of them suffer what they call a sophomore jinx.
Freeman improved his passing yardage to 3,592 but he regressed overall, throwing only 16 touchdown passes, and worst of all, he threw 22 interceptions. The play of Freeman was one reason why the Bucs went from 10-6 to a dismal 4-12 last season.
Freeman is one of the game's best young quarterbacks. His size (6'6"), pocket awareness, mobility and arm strength are reasons why many observers are high on him.
Look for Freeman to bounce back strong in 2012.
Tennessee Titans: (RB) Chris Johnson
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Before you say anything, there's nothing wrong with Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson.
Johnson, who rushed for 2,002 yards in 2009, has not come even close to eclipsing that number the past two seasons. He rushed for 1,364 yards in 2010 but hit an all-time low in 2011. Johnson rushed for only 1,047 yards last season. Worst of all, he found the end zone a career-low four times.
Many running backs would love to have Johnson's rushing yardage from a year ago, however, Johnson is not just any back.
When discussion of the NFL's best running backs come up, Johnson's name is right there.
Although he struggled in 2011, rest assured that Chris Johnson will be out for revenge on opposing defenses. Despite Johnson's struggles last season, Tennessee still finished with a winning record (9-7)
If Johnson bounces back with a great year, look for the Titans to be back in the playoff hunt.
Washington Redskins: (QB) Robert Griffin III
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The man known as "RGIII" has yet to take a snap at quarterback for the Washington Redskins, but Robert Griffin III will be the best offensive player on the field for Washington when the 2012 NFL season begin.
Griffin, the second overall pick in this year's draft, will be the starting QB for the Redskins when they play the New Orleans Saints on opening day.
No NFL team is in more need of stability at quarterback than Washington.
Griffin will attempt what Rex Grossman and Donovan McNabb couldn't do for the Redskins the past two seasons. The Redskins tried the two veteran QBs but neither could breathe any life in the offense.
Grossman, last season, threw for 3,151 yards with only 16 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions.
It is premature to think that Griffin can duplicate his Heisman-winning numbers for the Redskins in 2012, but if he protects the ball and gets any production out of his receivers, Griffin could become an overnight success for Washington.