NFL Wide Receivers: What To Look For In 2009

Jeffrey BoswellAnalyst IJune 26, 2009

HOUSTON - OCTOBER 26:  Wide receiver Chad Johnson #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals sets on the line of scrimmage against the Houston Texans on October 26, 2008 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Cincinnati wide receiver Chad Ochocinco recently predicted a playoff berth for the Bengals in 2009.

Is this another case of Ochocinco biting off more than he can chew, or are the Bengals legitimate contenders?

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with Ochocinco predicting the playoffs for the Bengals. Only Ochocinco’s name is stupid; he himself is not.

It’s late June, the perfect time to toss out brash predictions about making the playoffs, despite playing in a division represented by both 2008 AFC Championship combatants. It creates fan interest and a general buzz around the league.

Besides, by the time late September and Cincy’s 1-3 start rolls around, everyone will have forgotten Ochocinco’s prediction.

Anyway, you can’t trust a convicted sex offender who changes his name; why should you trust a NFL wide receiver who does the same?

With that being said, let’s take a look around the NFL and check what’s in store in 2009 for other big time wideouts.


Terrell Owens (Buffalo): As the Bills most high-profile signing in history, T.O. will bring loads of anticipation and excitement—as well as other baggage—to one of the smallest markets in the NFL.

Undoubtedly, Owens will be the recipient of several touchdown passes from Trent Edwards in the most exciting autumn in Buffalo since the Jim Kelly years.

Then, when the luster wears off and the December chill arrives, resulting in several failed meetings between the winter-hardened football and Owens’ suspect hands, T.O. will be the recipient of a one-way ticket to a barrel ride over Niagara Falls.


Braylon Edwards (Cleveland): With the Browns in need of leadership, Edwards has vowed to take a more prominent role in that capacity. To achieve that, Edwards spent much of the offseason strengthening his hands after a year of numerous drops.

New head coach Eric Mangini, as well as quarterbacks Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson, have lauded Edwards’ efforts, noting that his enthusiasm is contagious. Finally, it seems, Edwards’ attitude is “catching.”


Randy Moss (New England): With Tom Brady returning, is there any reason that Moss shouldn’t expect a huge year?


With his knee at full-strength, doctors have given Brady the go-ahead. Still, the question remains; will Brady get the green light from his hen-pecking supermodel wife, Giselle Bundchen?

And, with Giselle rumored to be pregnant, the only thing worse for Moss than hearing “You’re da baby’s daddy” is “Brady’s da baby daddy.”

If the kid comes out with a full afro, then we’re looking at a completely different set of problems.


Andre Johnson (Houston): Though Johnson hasn’t predicted a playoff berth for the Texans, he has promised the greatest statistical season in franchise history. Well-known for his ability to please Pro Bowl voters, Johnson plans to take that one step further by offering the same courtesy to fantasy owners.

Brandon Marshall (Denver): Marshall has requested that the Broncos trade him, so there’s really no telling where Denver’s troubled wide receiver will end up. Some experts say Washington while others predict Oakland.

A more likely destination would be in custody.

But really, can we really fault Marshall for requesting a trade? Isn’t that normal protocol for a prolific wide receiver when Kyle Orton is named starting quarterback?


Santonio Holmes (Pittsburgh): Can you measure the importance of winning the Super Bowl MVP trophy for a young receiver who has openly admitted that he sold drugs as a youth? Well, if you could, it wouldn’t be measured in grams.

In 2009, Holmes main goal will be to avoid comparisons with Super Bowl XXXIX MVP Deion Branch, whose career has been on such a downward slope that he may soon end up selling drugs.


Torry Holt (Jacksonville): Although he’s no longer a spry 20-year-old—and he won’t be running his routes on speedy artificial turf—Holt gives David Garrard his first big time wide receiver in Jacksonville. Holt is fast enough to break a long touchdown catch, crafty enough to gain eight yards and get out of bounds to stop the clock, and wise enough not to get caught in a parking lot dicing cocaine with a credit card.

Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions): What are the five words Johnson doesn’t want to hear anymore? Not “You play for the Lions”, but “Calvin, meet your new quarterback.” In his two seasons with the Lions, Johnson has probably caught passes from more quarterbacks than Jerry Rice did in his career.

If overall first-round Matthew Stafford starts, Johnson will be his best friend. Anyway, it doesn’t matter who’s throwing to Johnson—he’ll make the catch.


Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City): Bowe may be the happiest man in Kansas City. He has a new quarterback, Matt Cassel, fresh off a 4,000 yard campaign in New England last year. Plus, his new coach is Todd Haley, the offensive mind behind the Cardinals explosive 2009 passing game.

If Cassel and Haley can duplicate their successes from last year, Bowe may elevate himself among the NFL’s elite receivers, with a “Bowe Knows Football” ad campaign to soon follow. If Cassel and Haley prove to be merely one-year wonders, then Bowe likely will not realize his full potential.


Jerricho Cotchery (New York): What, if any, are the advantages of having rookie Mark Sanchez as your quarterback as opposed to Brett Favre? This is the burning question facing Cotchery right now. Sanchez passed up his senior year at Southern California to become the Jets first-round pick, so he gets the edge on Favre for at least knowing when to quit.


Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis): With Marvin Harrison out of Indy to devote his full attention to firing stray bullets at car washes, Wayne is unquestionably Peyton Manning’s go-to guy, right behind Manning’s endorsements agent. With Dallas Clark and Anthony Gonzalez in the mix, Wayne will likely see a lot of man coverage.

Expect the usual—a big year for Wayne, 10+ wins for the Colts, and a divisional playoff loss.

Bernard Berrian/Percy Harvin (Minnesota): More than anyone, Berrian and Harvin need to know whether or not Brett Favre will be in uniform as the Vikings quarterback on opening day. If Favre becomes a Viking and brings his devil-may-care passing skills to Minnesota, Berrian and Harvin will need to brush up on their tackling skills.

But, is anyone willing to go out on a sore right limb and pretend to know what Favre’s vacillating plans are? You know what rhymes with “vacillating fans?” “Oscillating fans.” And they blow in all directions. And, Favre’s decision to play for Minnesota may ultimately be decided by which way the wind blows.


Steve Smith (Carolina): Smith has promised to make a concerted effort to ask for the ball, demonstratively if need be. If anything was learned last year, it’s that quarterback Jake Delhomme often needs to be reminded to whom he should be throwing.


T.J. Houshmandzedah (Seattle): Houshmandzedah is not escaping Chad Ochocinco’s shadow in Cincinnati. No, Houshmandzedah’s was the shadow in Cincinnati, letting his numbers do the talking while Ochocinco did more talking about numbers.

The stage is all Houshmandzedah’s in Seattle and no one is happier than quarterback Matt Hasselbeck—although he’s got to be insanely jealous of Houshmandzedah’s hair. But Hasselbeck’s glad T.J. is here, as opposed to the gregarious Ochocinco, who, had he come to Seattle, would inevitably be known as “The Puget Sound.”


Larry Fitzgerald/Anquan Boldin (Arizona): With Fitzgerald and Boldin, the Cards have the best wide receiver in the NFL as well as the best unhappy wide receiver in the NFL, respectively. If Boldin remains a Cardinal, Arizona’s passing game will continue to be a dynamic force. For negotiating skills, Boldin need look no farther than Warner, who basically blackmailed the Cardinals into a new contract by visiting the 49ers last year and pretending to show interest in signing with them.


Roy Williams (Dallas): With Terrell Owens gone north to undermine yet another coaching regime, Williams finally has his chance to be a No. 1 receiver on a Super Bowl-quality team. Well, we know one former Cowboy who is not cheering for him.

The pressure’s on Williams, as well as quarterback Tony Romo. If the Cowboys don’t at least make the playoffs, Owens is vindicated, and Jerry Jones will be forced to unveil “Plan E,” which he will say will surely take the Cowboys to the Super Bowl.



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