As I previously mentioned, Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving yards record in 2012 with 1,964 yards. Prior to breaking the record, few believed any wide receiver would be able to shatter the threshold that stood strong for 17 years.
So, is it logical to think Johnson or any other wide receiver has what it takes to break the record for a second consecutive season? Some people would say no, but I would say yes for two reasons. The NFL is a pass-first league and the current crop of wideouts in the league are as talented as it gets.
If Stafford keeps force-feeding Johnson, he surely has the best shot to break his own record, but one shouldn't sleep on players like Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans and Demaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos. Johnson was targeted 159 times for 1,598 yards and Thomas was targeted 138 times for 1,430 yards.
Despite drafting Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in last April's draft, Johnson should remain the focal point of Houston’s offense. If anything the addition of Hopkins will free him up in coverage. This, in turn, will exploit matchups and expose No. 80 to more single coverage opportunities down the field.
Like Hopkins, the addition of Wes Welker in the slot should help draw coverage away from Thomas in Denver. Over the course of the final eight games of the 2012 season, he averaged 9.5 targets per game. Assuming that trend continues in 2013, we can expect No. 88 to see 152 targets.
That number would easily be a career high.