2011 NFL Predictions: 5 Reasons Vincent Jackson Will Be the NFL's Top Receiver
Vincent Jackson has decided to put his contract dispute with the San Diego Chargers aside to play football this season. He should put up big numbers as Philip Rivers No. 1 target downfield. In my opinion, there is not another WR on the roster—and few in the league—that possess his skills.
What Jackson is capable of doing to a defense in Norv Turner’s system is downright offensive—no pun intended.
It’s a question that has to be asked: Can VJ become the NFL’s best receiver in 2011? It’s definitely a possibility for a number of reasons...
Jackson Will Play “Hungry” This Season
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It’s no secret that Jackson is looking for long-term security and if he has a big season, he will be paid accordingly next offseason either by the Chargers or another team in free agency. Having a healthy Antonio Gates on the field will also help keep the double-team away from him.
Last season, he only played in nine games and should be eager to play an entire season. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jackson had his first 70 plus reception and double-digit touchdown season this year.
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The reigning NFL leader in passing yards is quickly rounding into regular season form with his favorite wideout. Together, Rivers and Jackson have combined for five catches and 103 yards in their first two preseason games.
VJ makes the offense go, as he is a defensive mismatch based on his size (6'5", 235 lbs.) and speed against opposing defenders. He can turn a simple pass play into a touchdown and dramatically change the course of a game. This makes Rivers a better overall QB, as these two can carry a team to a Super Bowl appearance.
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Rivers, Jackson and Gates are a pretty formidable offensive trio and if Malcolm Floyd and Ryan Mathews can shake off nagging injuries, this offense could become an unstoppable machine.
Eliminating VJ from making the big play doesn’t eliminate him from being a factor on the field. His mere presence causes the defense to double-team him and that will open up the rest of the field for Gates and Co. to make plays. Rivers waits for the opportunity to make a perfect throw and let one of his targets run free through the secondary.
Lack of a True No. 1 Receiver to Replace Jackson
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Last season, the Chargers had plenty of question marks surrounding the WR position. It became a week-to-week process to see who would start on Sunday due to all of the injuries. Even healthy, none of the receivers on the roster had play-making abilities like Jackson.
Having good WRs will get you through the regular season, but come playoff time you need elite players if you want to advance to the Super Bowl. Shut-down corners will silence your inexpensive parts all afternoon long. But Jackson is a different story, as he is fast, has great hands and is hard to tackle in the open field.
It’s His Time
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The game has slowed down for Jackson, as he is becoming acclimated to the complexity of the NFL. Top receivers make plays across the middle and in the red zone.
Jackson doesn’t get intimidated by physical corners or tough-hitting safeties. He is an exceptional talent that is dangerous with the ball in his hand. Jackson can catch a pass in traffic or utilize his speed to get himself behind the coverage for a big play.