NFL's 5 Worst Receiving Tandems
Having a ood wide receiver tandem is one of the most underrated ideas in football. Teams who win have two good receivers. Or at least one Pro-Bowl receiver and an average receiver playing across.
Does having a good tandem make you a winner? No, of course not. The Detroit Lions have Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson, but quarterback Matthew Stafford hasn't been able to stay healthy.
The Cowboys have Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, but they had coaching and motivation issues last season.
But when the Panthers were at their best, they had Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad. Peyton Manning had Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.
In today's league, the Eagles have DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin; Packers have Greg Jennings and Donald Driver; Atlanta has Roddy White and Julio Jones.
This list will highlight (if you can call it that) the five worst receiving tandems in the NFL, and not surprisingly, the teams aren't that good either.
5: Cincinnati Bengals
Last year it was the T.Ocho show in Cincinnati with Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco playing opposite each other. This year? It's rookie A.J. Green and fourth year man Jerome Simpson.
It's difficult to predict how much these two will produce with rookie Andy Dalton at quarterback, and with the Bengals clearly transiting into rebuild mode, there's not much to get excited about in Cincinnati for this year.
Simpson was a nice story coming in late last season for the injured starters, but him and A.J. Green have a lot to prove before they become recognized as legitimate threats.
4: Buffalo Bills
Stevie Johnson is slowly becoming my favorite receiver in the NFL. I can't pinpoint the exact reason. He's just an entertaining character, and I'm sympathetic for the Bills.
He finished 11th in the league in receptions (82) and receiving yards (1,073), and tied for fourth in the league with 10 touchdown receptions, as he became Ryan Fitzpatrick's favorite target and made Lee Evans expendable. If he can have similar or better production this year, the Bills will be very thankful because they don't have many other threats on offense.
David Nelson looks like the best option for the Bills to start opposite Johnson. He's 6'5" and has great upside. In the end, it doesn't make the Bills that much better or worse, whoever they hand the starting job to. Stevie Johnson's Pro-Bowl season will demand defenses pay more attention, which should open things up for whoever the number two is.
3: Carolina Panthers
Steve Smith is well past his prime, but he's still good. He caught 46 passes for 554 yards last season from the worst quarterback tandem in recent NFL history, Jimmy Clausen and Matt Moore. Right now, Brandon LaFell is battling with Legedu Naanee for the number two spot due to David Gettis being out with a torn ACL.
Like the last two teams on this list, the Panthers are a run-first team, and with Cam Newton (or worse, Clausen) under center, the Panthers have a great chance to finish last in passing offense.
2: Jacksonville Jaguars
Mike Thomas (66 receptions for 820 yards) saves the Jaguars from having the worst receiving tandem in the NFL.
He may not be a true number one, but he's fun to watch. The Jags would have done well to keep Mike Sims-Walker, but Jason Hill did emerge as a possible number two late last season, showing great leaping ability, and averaging 22.5 yards per reception (he only had 11 receptions, so that's not entirely accurate of his ability).
After Hill, there's a not much. And partly due to a run-heavy philosophy, expect Jacksonville to be right there with the Browns at the bottom of the league in passing offense.
1: Cleveland Browns
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
It doesn't matter who the Browns throw out there to start. They might as well close their eyes and pick names out of the hat because this team has the worst receiving corps in the league, let alone tandem.
As it stands, Mohamed Massaquoi and Josh Cribbs would be the hypothetical numbers one and two on the depth chart (they currently are watching from the sidelines with injuries). Their combined numbers from last season: 59 receptions for 775 yards and three touchdowns. They teamed up to match tight end Benjamin Watson's numbers (63 receptions for 763 yards and three touchdowns).
The one bright spot is rookie Greg Little from North Carolina. He's a converted running back, who's still learning the nuances of being a wide receiver, but he's shown more promise than other Browns wide-outs (and that's not saying much in Cleveland).