7 Wide Receivers Most in Need of a Supporting Cast

Cedric Hopkins@FieldandCourtContributor INovember 22, 2011

7 Wide Receivers Most in Need of a Supporting Cast

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    Some teams have a dominant passing attack—from quarterback, to tight end, to wide receivers—they have it all. Picture the Green Bay Packers or New Orleans Saints. Those teams even have a tailback that can catch out of the backfield.

    Others don't have anything that resembles a passing attack, whatsoever. Imagine the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Washington Redskins. Those teams chuck it up and see who comes down with it.

    And then there's the "tweeners." Teams with one dominant wide receiver in the league, but no one else to support them. Bacon, no eggs. Air, no plane. You get it.

    These seven receivers would do well to politic for a fellow wideout that would not only improve the team in general, but would make the double and triple-teams disappear. Like David Blaine. Okay, maybe not that good, but pretty close.

    Bang it below to watch the magic.

Larry Fitzgerald Is Under Arrest

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    "Hands on your head. Don't move!" Words that every cornerback in the league would like to say to Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

    Similar to the picture to the left, each week defenses attempt to put Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald in the arresting position. Without a talented supporting cast around him, it's getting easier and easier for defenders to lock him up.

    In previous years, Fitzgerald has played with talented wideouts on his team. But that's a thing of the past.

    As Fitzgerald said himself, “I had some talented guys around me.”


    Fitzgerald, although maintaining his high level of play, feels that if defenses didn’t have the luxury of keying in on just him, the offense would move the ball more efficiently.

    “Look at Green Bay, they have a plethora of talented guys,” Fitzgerald said. “When you have so many things teams have to worry about defensively, you’re going to get open, you’re going to get the big shots for your offense.”

    Thanks Fitz—that’s my point.

    Fitzgerald already possesses big play ability and typically gets the job done each game. You can bank on a 1,000-yard season every year. If he had a decent wide receiver on the other side of the line, he’d be even more productive. Scary.

Andre Johnson Needs Help in the Worst Way

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    I put Houston Texans wideout Andre Johnson in here with a bit of reluctance. Technically, he doesn’t have a solid wide receiver opposite him to take some pressure off. Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter are always this close to breaking out.

    He does have Arian Foster, however. Also, tight end Owen Daniels is nothing to sneeze at.

    But when you look at how the cornerbacks and safeties have to play the second wide receiver position—excuse me—how they don’t have to play the second wide receiver position, Johnson has had a raw deal.

    Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has had success with mediocre quarterbacks. With Matt Schaub likely out for the remainder of the season, this will be Johnson’s true test.

    The smart money is on Johnson not missing a beat with replacement quarterback Matt Leinart. If only he also had his own version of Julio Jones, though. Life would be easier for The Natural in Houston.

Megatron Is One Who Can Do It Alone

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    Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is the best wide receiver in football. There. I said it.

    Prior to this season, he didn’t have a talented quarterback throwing to him. Still, he managed to put up solid stats each year.

    Since Matthew Stafford has passed the pigskin this season, Megatron is looking at breaking Randy Moss's touchdown record. Even the delusional hater Cris Carter had to back track on his horrible comments about Johnson not being a top-5 wide receiver in the league.

    Johnson’s freakish size-speed combo, matched with Stafford’s big arm, negates the need for a second wide receiver.

    Defenses can bring on the double and triple teams—Megatron doesn’t mind. He's perhaps the only wide receiver who doesn't need a supporting cast, but would be even more explosive (if that's possible) with one.

Brandon Marshall Needs Another Brand of Wide Receiver

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    The Miami Dolphins have many needs on offense. Come to think of it, they have many needs in general. Okay. I've thought about it, and they actually have a need at every facet of the game. Except for cheerleader. That position is well stocked.

    As far as pass catchers are concerned, there's an uncomfortable void after Brandon Marshall. Miami thought they drafted a franchise running back, but he’s not looking so hot. Reggie Bush is on again, off again—in a desperate attempt to prove he’s a featured running back. And as far as their wide receivers not named Marshall, it’s a dismal bunch.

    Devone Bess just caught his first touchdown this Sunday when the Dolphins routed the Buffalo Bills 35-8. I think a cheerleader also had a touchdown pass called back due to a penalty. Bess’ touchdown ain’t sayin’ much. Brian Hartline had promise coming into the year, but his 20 receptions for 282 yards and one score leaves much to be desired.

    Too frequently, Marshall is getting jammed at the line, only to find a couple more defenders welcoming him with open arms downfield.  If Miami was to get a second talented wide receiver, things would open up, not only for Marshall, but also for whoever they decide to put in at quarterback.

    By the way, Chad Henne is not the answer. Check out Brandon Marshall's picture above. That's the reaction you get from Marshall at the mentioning of Henne's name. 

Steve Smith Used to Being Only Show in Town

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    The Carolina Panthers have tried to give wide receiver Steve Smith the tools needed to be successful.

    They drafted a uber-talented quarterback in Cam Newton who has all expectations in the rear view mirror. They brought in Legedu Naanee and Seyi Ajirotutu from San Diego, and have Brandon LaFell in his sophomore campaign. They even managed to secure DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart—one of the fiercest running back combos in the league. Well, it used to be.

    Even with Carolina’s moves, they didn’t do enough to have a serious receiving threat outside of Smith.

    Smith has never really had a legitimate partner on the field. With Newton throwing the rock the way he has, Smith may not need that partner, but it would be nice.

Brandon Lloyd Is a Beast in the Right Situation

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    I’m putting St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brandon Lloyd in this list because I think he’s a legitimate top wideout in the league.

    Let me clarify.

    Lloyd is a top wide receiver in the league when he’s in a Josh McDaniels system. There’s still a vapor trail coming from Denver to St. Louis when Lloyd was stinkin' it up with the Broncos prior to his midseason trade to the Rams. 

    But now that he’s back in McDaniels' fold, Lloyd is set to dominate the league as he did in 2010.

    It would also help if St. Louis would draft or acquire another gifted pass catcher. Yeah, Mark Clayton is reliable, but he’s old reliable. He won’t last much longer. Danario Alexander’s knee is a threat to give out each time he stands up, let alone plays in a game.

    Lloyd’s game is strong, and would be stronger if he had that essential component of a second wide receiver that demanded the defense’s attention. He’s no Calvin, so a strong second wideout is a need, not a luxury.

Dwayne Bowe Begging for a Better Beast

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    By including Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe on this list, I’ve indicted Steve Breaston as an insufficient secondary wideout. That was a tough decision. The Michigan product has performed well in the past, and this year, he’s been decent in some games. Decent doesn’t cut it.

    What the guys on this list need are guys like A.J. Green, Jordy Nelson and Jimmy Graham. True beasts.

    Breaston is no beast. He’s a likable guy who's a pretty good receiver, but not a guy who could take over a game.

    Bowe, on the other hand, has been dominating defenses since coming into the league as a rookie. Bowe has been robbed of not only a fellow gifted wide receiver, but also a talented quarterback.

    Matt Cassel seemed like the answer after successfully taking the controls of the New England Patriots for a year. It only seemed that way. He’s simply not lived up to his inflated contract since being brought into the Chiefs organization.

    Bowe is still making his catches, but he’d do well to have a solid second wideout to relieve the pressure valve the defenses put on him handily each week.

Teams Desperate for Any Passing Help

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    And finally, we have teams that just need a receive cast, altoghter. These teams are so far gone at the position, that they need to empty the roster and start all over.

    Jacksonville Jaguars

    The Jaguars played “break up to make up” with Mike Sims-Walker. He’s not the answer as a top wide receiver on a team. And neither is anyone else on their roster.

    Denver Broncos

    The Broncos have a bunch of guys who haven’t produced since Jay Cutler left. What happened to Eddie Royal?

    Oakland Raiders

    Sure, Denarius Moore will have a great game here and there, but none of these receivers is a top threat in the league.

    Minnesota Vikings

    "Paging Percy Harvin. Paging Percy Harvin. You're needed on the football field."

    Washington Redskins

    When you have Rex Grossman and John Beck losing the job to each other all season, you can’t tell if your receivers are any good.

    Seattle Seahawks

    See, Washington Redskins, above. Insert Tarvaris Jackson’s name.